AURORA, Colo. — When Kaniya Smith first heard about a kids' COVID-19 vaccine trial, she wasn’t sure she wanted to participate.
After all, it would involve needles. And Kaniya does not like needles.
“They’re needles!” the 10-year-old said. “I don’t like the things.”
But her mom, Key Williams, hoped her daughter would reconsider. She heard an advertisement for the trial on the radio and really wanted Kaniya to get involved.
“I got the shot, myself,” Williams said. “I didn’t really have bad side effects from it. I knew she would be okay getting the shot.”
Plus, this family – like so many others – understood the cost of the pandemic.
“We actually had a family member die from COVID, and we know how serious the pandemic is,” Williams said. “So, my role as a mother is to keep her safe. She’s the most important thing in the world to me, and when the opportunity came, I’m definitely going to take it.”
Kaniya signed up for a vaccine trial at Children’s Hospital Colorado this summer. The trial included more than 250 kids ages 5 to 11.
She said she was nervous ahead of her first shot. But she said the blood tests were harder than the actual vaccine shot.
“You couldn’t even feel it,” she said.
Just like adults, kids trial participants got two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. But the children’s dose is less than the adult dose--only 10 micrograms, compared to the 30 micrograms given to people ages 12 and older.
Participants also log their symptoms, which will be tracked for months afterward.
Some of the kids received a placebo shot. Kaniya hopes to find out soon if she got the placebo, or the real deal.
“I still feel much safer,” she said.
“I’m very proud,” her mom said. “I feel like we’ve made a mark in history. She’s made her mark. She set an example for other kids out there, to let them know hey, this is okay, not as scary as you think. It can be done.”
Someday, Kaniya is looking forward to the pandemic ending and finally throwing her masks away forever. Until then, she encourages other kids and their families to get the vaccine to protect themselves and others.
“I just want kids to know they should get this as soon as they can,” she said. “It helps their parents, and themselves.”
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