Plea for more people to participate in COVID-19 vaccine trials

HOUSTON – Aaralyn and Aryanna Politte are only 14 years old and part of the trial for Novavax.

They said, even though their age group has vaccines available, they felt that it was important to participate in a trial in order to provide different options for vaccines in the future.

“If we do it, maybe other people will do it. So other people will see that it’s safe and be able to take the vaccine,” Aaralyn said.

That is important, said Dr. Sarah Hasan, but lately, getting people of all ages to participate has been tough.

Click here for more details on the many options for local trials, including a plant-based trial.

“I think it’s challenging to find people who haven’t been vaccinated yet. That’s really where our challenge lies now,” Hasan said. “The point of clinical trials is not just to find vaccines as effective as the ones we have right now but we’re looking for more effectiveness.”

She said they’re going to continue monitoring participants in all trials for two years. They need to continue monitoring how long protection lasts, how effective it is against mutations and whether they need a booster.

The length of the trial doesn’t automatically mean they’re concerned about what’s being offered to the public right now.

“The historical data we’ve seen so far with mRNA vaccines has not shown a big concern on the side effects or safety profile but what we do have sight of right now is how effective this vaccine is and how it protects you from COVID-19,” Hasan said.

The Polittes said they are so proud of their young girls taking part in science history to help find the next best thing, if it’s out there, and looking forward to putting the pandemic behind them.

“I really do want other people to get vaccinated, that way we can get back to normal life,” Aaralyn said.