Raleigh 9-year-old participating in vaccine trial to ‘help my classmates and my friends’

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Now that Pfizer has figured out which vaccine dose is best for children, the company has expanded trials to more children younger than 12.

When 9-year-old John Thompson of Raleigh learned Duke was conducting the trial, he wanted to take part.

After more than a year of playing mostly in his own backyard, John is ready for the pandemic to end. He saw the rest of his family get COVID vaccines and also wanted one.

“Everybody else got the shot in my family except me,” he said.

“He’s kind of impatient,” noted his mom Sarah Thompson.

John saw a news story about the trial at Duke and asked his mom if he could participate. That caught his mom a little off guard.

“I was really surprised that he would actually want to do this because he really doesn’t enjoy going to doctors or any of that stuff,” she said. “I told him everything he had to do. He had to do extra bloodwork, he had to do nose swabs, and he was on board, and he really, really wanted to do it.”

On John’s 9th birthday, he learned he was accepted into the study. He didn’t even mind the shot.

“It hurt for a second,” he said.

“He was not scared of the lab,” added Sarah. “He did not cry — he did not flinch.”

Afterward, he did have a low-grade fever, a sore arm, and chills.

“I’m really hoping that does mean he got the real thing,” said Sarah, adding that he has a 66 percent chance of getting the real vaccine instead of a placebo.

“I hope I got the real one,” John said.

Either way, he’s happy to be a part of the trial, “so I could help my classmates and my friends,” he explained.

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