Gordon School students participate in Moderna vaccine trial for kids

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – A group of students at The Gordon School, an independent school in East Providence, have volunteered to be a part of Moderna’s vaccine trial for pre-teens and teenagers.

About a dozen students from 6th grade through 8th grade signed up to take part in the clinical trial, that administers either a vaccine dose or a placebo to the students.

“I was a little hesitant at first, cause it sounded kind of scary almost, but in the end, I really wanted to do it because it helps other people,” said Janie Palan, a 7th grader at Gordon.

“A lot of my friends are doing this, and so my mom heard it from some friends, and then she told me about it and I got really excited,” added Peyton Riegel, who’s also a 7th grader at Gordon.

While the trial is not affiliated with the school, parents got to talking about it, and that’s how word spread.

“I am a strong believer in science and a strong believer in vaccinations, and feel like whatever our family can do to help is what we wanted to do. But it definitely was up to her, and she opted to do it. It feels good to be doing something after a year of doing nothing,” said Martha Palan, Janie’s mom. “These kids are pumped to be helping and contributing to something that will ultimately, hopefully, free us from this really difficult year.”

While the students won’t know whether or not they received the real shot, many of the volunteers reported feeling symptoms.

“I had some nausea, my stomach hurt a little bit. Now I’m feeling fine. It only lasted for like six hours,” said Will Salter, an 8th grader at Gordon who has already received his second shot. “Once I got my shot I was like, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

“I just felt really tired, my arm was, like, really sore and it was hard to move it around. I had a headache a bit, but I didn’t have too many symptoms,” added Riegel.

“After my first shot, I pretty much felt fine,” said Palan, who gets her second shot on Monday. “My arm was super sore and it almost felt like I had a little bit of a cold like I had stuff nose.”

Going forward, the volunteers will have their blood tested to check for antibodies, and they must track their symptoms for 7 days following a shot.

Whether they got the actual vaccine or not, these students are just happy to be part of history and help us out of the pandemic.

“A couple days ago was like the one-year mark of like all of COVID, that suddenly during this time you can actually do something to help stop it,” said Riegel.

“It feels normal, but it also feels like I’m part of, like, history and developing, and it’s a new mRNA vaccine, and it’s all this new stuff,” said Salter. “It’s very exciting and fun to be a part of it.”

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Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island