By CBSDFW.com Staff

by Aparna Zalani | CBS 11

PLANO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Researchers across the United States are recruiting adolescent and children volunteers in the fight against the coronavirus.

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COVID-19 vaccine trials for both Pfizer and Moderna include testing adolescent and children to make sure it is safe for all ages.

Plano 7th grader Oliver Geheb enrolled in Moderna’s adolescent trial for children 12 and up.

A history buff and a swimmer, Geheb says the pandemic has inspired him to become an epidemiologist.

“I really wanted to be able to think back on this time where the world was struggling with a virus, and be able to say, ‘I still helped and tried to do something about it’,” he said.

Oliver Geheb (credit: Geheb family)

He received his second shot on Friday, March 26.

The family doesn’t know if he received the real vaccine or a placebo.

His mom, and former nurse, Sarah Kissel says every bit will help in the fight.

“I think that the only way we’re going to put this behind us is if we have enough people to be vaccinated that includes adolescents and children, we know from the research that adolescence can spread the virus.”

Starting next week, Moderna plans to launch a trial for children as young as 6 months to 11 years old.

Heema Marwah director at ACRC Clinical trials says she’s already received queries from potential subjects about the new trial.

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“That’s just how clinical trials work in general. We’ll start from adults, adolescent, pediatric.”

She says the trials have a heavy emphasis on safety.

Nurses and medical professional monitor the subjects for a full year as part.

Each subject must keep an electronic diary about symptoms and side effects.

She said the trial is important to reach herd immunity.

“I would say approximately 25% of the us population is less than 18 years of age. And if we want to achieve herd immunity, we’re going to have to include children, and make sure that they’re vaccinated because there’s no other way i would think to get to that point.”

Oliver has one more reason to be here. It’s for someone he knew well – his school crossing guard who lost his battle to COVID-19 this last winter.

“it was very heartbreaking. And he never even got the chance to have the vaccine. So i think it’s very important that we get everyone else to have the vaccine so less people like him die.”

Oliver and his family attended a memorial for Mr. Bob Manus Friday, on the day he received the second shot.

Mr. Bob, as the children called him served as a crossing guard for 16th years.

Bob Manus

Pfizer’s clinical trial on children began this week, vaccinating 9-year-old twins in North Carolina.

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Both Moderna and Pfizer expect to release results of their adolescent trials soon. Moderna is currently authorized for use for ages 18 and above and Pfizer is for ages 16 and up.

CBSDFW.com Staff