‘I felt really tired’: Austin children enrolled in Pfizer vaccine trial share their experiences

Texas Coronavirus Vaccine

AUSTIN (KXAN) — About 1.6 million more Texans are now eligible to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine after the Texas Department of State Health Services told providers to begin administering shots to children ages 12 to 15 years old.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had authorized the vaccine for that age group on Monday, and on Wednesday a federal advisory committee on immunization practices recommended it.

One Austin family is currently involved in Pfizer’s vaccine trial for adolescents.

The Caudle family enrolled in the trial last December. Lily, who was 15 when the trial started, found out she got the Pfizer vaccine and not a placebo.

She remembers having a sore arm after the first shot and felt more side effects after the second one that lasted for one day.

“I felt really tired and needed to sleep. I had a fever and a bit of a headache, but it wasn’t terrible,” Lily said.

Her 12-year-old brother, Wyatt, who is still waiting to learn if he received the placebo or the vaccine, said his side effects were minimal.

“My shoulder to armpit area was sore for three days, and then it went away,” Wyatt said.

It’s a stark contrast to his 14-year-old sister, Maddie, who is also still waiting to learn if she received a vaccine or the placebo. About a month into the trial she contracted COVID-19.

“It was the most sick I’ve ever felt; it was so bad. I had a fever all the time. I was nauseous, I was super dizzy, and I couldn’t stand up for a couple of days without falling over,” Maddie said.

And she said there are still lingering effects linked to her breathing, which is why she is advocating for the vaccine.

“Her sickness [from the COVID-19 vaccine] was so minor compared to my week of feeling awful, that it is 100% worth it,” Maddie said.

The Caudle family is part of the trial for two years. They continue to track any symptoms in a weekly journal.

Dr. Elizabeth Knapp at Austin Regional Clinic said the staff has already scheduled 1,400 doses for adolescents ages 12 to 15. She said research continues to show minimal side effects.

“A little soreness, a little run down, perhaps a fever or chills, but that passes in a few days, and then you’re protected,” Dr. Knapp said.

DSHS said parental consent is required for the vaccination of children in this age group. Officials said consent may be given orally or in writing.

DSHS said the parent or guardian does not need to be present for the adolescent to be vaccinated, unless required by the vaccine provider.

H-E-B, CVS, and Walgreens are offering appointments now to those ages 12 through 15. To locate other vaccine providers, visit covidvaccine.texas.gov or vacunacovid.texas.gov.

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