BELLEVUE, Wash. — Some Washington families helped the Pfizer vaccine for kids get the FDA panel's approval Tuesday by taking part in trials at Seattle Children's Hospital.
"[I feel] an abundance of pride and hope for the future that we can get back to normal sometime in the next year," said trial participant, 11-year-old Emma. The family asked KING5 not to include their last name for privacy reasons.
Emma and her 6-year-old sister Kate both looked past their nerves and said they wanted to be part of the Pfizer vaccine trial at Seattle Children's Hospital. Their mother Nina heard the hospital was looking for participants ages 5 to 11 and reached out to Seattle Children's to participate.
Nina said she doesn't know if her kids were given the vaccine or a placebo but hopes to find out soon now that the vaccine is close to receiving full approval.
A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted unanimously Tuesday, with one abstention, that the vaccine’s benefits in preventing COVID-19 in that 5 to 11 age group outweigh any potential risks.
Kate and Emma were two of 2,268 elementary school children to participate in the trial across the U.S.
"My husband and I looked at each other and we're like, 'Oh my gosh! We're a part of this,'" said Nina when she heard Tuesday's news.
The family said, before the trial began, both Nina and Emma had several questions for Dr. Janet Englund, a Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases who helped lead the trial.
"That first visit during trial, it was a lengthy visit because there were so many things to understand and we were given an opportunity to ask questions about the vaccine for the kids," said Nina. She added she encourages parents who have questions about the vaccine to talk to their child's pediatrician.
For Emma, participating in the trial feels like a way to help life get back to normal.
"All I want is to be with my friends, to go in-person and go back to my normal activities and this vaccine was one of the only ways to be able to do that," said Emma.
Next week, the CDC will have to decide whether to recommend the shots. Emma called the entire experience a privilege and wants to be a role model for her peers.
"This vaccine is a chance for us to become responsible and step-up and actually get the vaccine. So, I say do it," said Emma.