‘It’s kind of my part to help’: Barrington 5th grader explains why he took part in Pfizer vaccine trial


EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Joshua Montgomery, 10, and his 5-year-old brother Oliver were among the nearly 2,300 participants involved in testing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

The 10-year-old, who’s a 5th grader at The Gordon School in East Providence, tells 12 News enrolling in the vaccine trial was a way to do his part in ending the pandemic.

“I just wanted to help everybody and stop COVID, because it’s not good,” Montgomery said. “It’s a very deadly virus, and I feel like a lot of people don’t want to get it, so I feel like it’s kind of my part to help.”

Pfizer said Tuesday it has submitted data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from a trial on the effects of the COVID-19 vaccine on children between ages 5 and 11.

Alix Morse, Joshua and Oliver’s mother, jumped at the chance to get them both vaccinated. Morse said she’s a pulmonologist and her husband is a dentist, meaning both are at risk of contracting the virus while on the job.

“My whole job is dealing with COVID. We had a rough wave, sort of August into September, of a lot of COVID patients,” Morse said.

Pfizer’s trial tested two doses of its vaccine in kids ages 5 to 11, though each dosage was one-third of what people older than age 12 have been immunized with.

Morse said as a family, they were more than happy to take on the potential risks.

“We feel like it’s part of our duty to our community to help in whatever way we can,” Morse said. “I just want so much of the community to have this protection so that we can all be protected and hopefully return closer to normal and kind of take care of one another.”

Morse’s daughter, Charlotte, enrolled in the Moderna trial for adolescents. The 15-year-old later found out she got the vaccine, while her brothers are still waiting to learn whether they received the real shot or the placebo.

Morse thinks Josh got the real vaccine because his arm swelled and hurt the next day, but the brothers won’t find out unless the FDA grants Pfizer’s vaccine an Emergency Use Authorization for kids ages 5 to 11.

“They’re going to walk through the process like they did with everybody else, and whether or not an Emergency Use Authorization is appropriate or not. So, we’re going to have to wait and see what that looks like,” R.I. Department of Health Medical Director Dr. James McDonald said.

On Monday, Gov. Dan McKee said the state is prepared for the next wave of vaccinations, should Pfizer’s vaccine get federal approval.

“We’ve built up our capacity and vaccinations to as much as 120,000 in any given week. So, if we need to ratchet up, we will. But at this point in time, we feel very comfortable that we’ll get the vaccines out,” McKee said.

Pfizer said a formal submission to request emergency approval for its vaccine in children ages 5 to 11 “is expected to follow in the coming weeks.”

Additionally, the company stated safety information for the other two age groups from the trial – children ages 2 to 5 and children 6 months to 2 years of age – are expected as soon as the end of this year.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is the only one approved by the FDA for people ages 16 and up. It also has Emergency Use Authorization for kids between 12 and 15 years old.

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