8-year-old Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial participant shares experience

When Britni Prybol and her family decided to let her 8-year-old son take part in the Pfizer vaccine trials at Duke University, she said she had concerns, but determined the rewards outweighed any risks.

"It was nerve-racking even through the night before. I think I had chills," she says. "I knew it was for research and when he did get the vaccine I think I sat and stared at him for hours making sure he was okay."

Prybol's 8-year-old son Sebastian was just one of the children that took part in vaccine trials for Pfizer. The company announced Monday that its vaccine is effective for children ages five to 11 and will ask the FDA for authorization.

READ MORE: Pfizer: COVID-19 vaccine works in kids ages 5 to 11, plans to seek authorization soon

Pfizer tested a much lower dose on the children in the trial, about one-third of the adult dose, and says the children in the trials developed coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults.

Sebastian says he had a few side effects from the vaccine, such as a fever and a sore arm.

"I was kind of nervous and I didn’t really know what to expect from this and I’m happy that I have the vaccine and we are just trying to get things to go back to normal," he says.

The demand for vaccines for younger children has been growing as schools across the country and the DMV are reopening for in-person classes.

READ MORE: All DC school teachers, personnel required to be COVID-19 vaccinated by Nov 1

The FDA approval process could take just weeks, meaning vaccinations for children five to 11 could begin by Halloween.

So, what's taken so long? Mitre Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jay Scnitzer says when it comes to kids, both the FDA and Pfizer want to be careful to get this right.

"The FDA correctly places a very high bar on safety for children," Dr. Scnitzer says. "They are putting the bar pretty high on the safety profile and requiring a lot of very rigorous safety data before granting approval for the under 12 group."

Since the Pfizer trial was a blind trial, Prybol says they don't know for sure if Sebastian got the actual COVID-19 vaccine. However, there is a 67-70% chance that he did.

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As soon as Pfizer officially files for authorization this week, the trial will be unblinded.