LAKELAND, Fla. — The CDC just gave the green light for adolescents, ages 12-15 to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. The Novavax clinical trial, happening in Lakeland, is hoping to be next. 

What You Need To Know

  • New Novavax clinical trial in Lakeland testing minors

  • Pfizer was just approved for kids 12 - 15
  • Novavax hoping to be the next EUA approved vaccine

  • The trials help determine how long the vaccines are effective

Accel Research Sites opened up a new Novavax clinical trial that tests minors, ages 12 through 17. 

“I’m 14 and I wanted to be a part of the trial to further the study and find a vaccine for covid or something else,” explained Riley Hathaway. “My mom told me about the trial and I wanted to volunteer. 

Hathaway joins dozens of other people who have participated in Accel Research clinical trials. 

“At the end of the school year a few students got COVID and I had to quarantine,” said Hathaway. “I just don’t want to have to wear a mask and I want to be able to hang out with my friends again. I just want this to be over.” 

Dr. James Anderson is a lead investigator on Accel’s clinical trial and he says it takes people like Hathaway to properly study new vaccines. 

“How do you tell if the vaccine works? You have to have similar people who haven’t had the vaccine. In this case, they got a placebo shot — and they follow them over time,” explained Dr. Anderson. 

Dr. Anderson said that some patients got the actual vaccine shot and others only thought they did but actually received a placebo shot. He added that the only organization that knows who got what shot is the FDA.  

“When they came out with the 95% for Moderna, 95% for Pfizer, that’s where those numbers came from. If they didn’t have a placebo group - they wouldn’t have anyone to compare,” explained Dr. Anderson.  “We’re using the same vaccine as the adults did. The FDA approved this based on what they already had. The final data will be sent in June for the emergency use authorization.” 

Emergency Use Authorization or EUA is what each of the current vaccines is approved under. 

“Trials take time and FDA approvals on vaccines usually take longer. There are no approved vaccines anywhere in the world,” said Dr. Anderson. “The Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J all exist under an emergency use authorization.  On that basis, you have the rights to administer to the public but we’re going to keep collecting data to see if we’re going to have an approval.” 

Dr. Anderson says that this trial is about finding out about a person's health and how long the vaccines are effective. 

“That’s the data we are lacking,” said Anderson. “Without trials, people wouldn’t know if it works,” he said. 

Minors between the age of 12 and 17 can start receiving the Pfizer vaccination as early as Thursday.