‘You are making a difference’: East Providence teens participate in Moderna vaccine trial


EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Nearly a dozen Rhode Island middle schoolers played a major role in Moderna’s adolescent vaccine trial.

The trial began last December for children between the ages of 12 and 17, and on Tuesday, Moderna announced that its COVID-19 vaccine offers strong protection for that age group.

That announcement wouldn’t have been possible without the participation of dozens of teenagers, including a group of 7th graders at The Gordon School.

Janie Palan tells 12 News she learned a few weeks ago that she received the actual vaccine during the trial and not a placebo.

“It felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said.

Now that she’s fully vaccinated, Palan and the other students who participated are looking forward to the better days ahead.

“I’m really excited to just spend more time with my friends without masks on,” student Annabel Herzlinger said.

Peyton Reigel tells 12 News she experienced some symptoms after receiving the second dose, but it was all worth it.

“You’re going through those once and you hopefully won’t have to go through that again,” she said.

Moderna has ongoing trials for even younger children, as young as 6 months old.

Zoey Frank had a message to those still skeptical to get vaccinated.

“Even though you are one in many, many people, you are making a difference,” she said.

Moderna plans on submitting its trial data to federal regulators in June. If given the green light, it will join Pfizer as the second COVID-19 vaccine approved for adolescents.

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