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Ohio pre-teen participates in trial for 4th covid-19 vaccine

Teen trial underway for fourth COVID-19 vaccine in northeast Ohio

A local pediatric hospital is 1 of 75 places across the country running a Novavax vaccine trial on 12 to 17-year-old’s.

SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio — *Editor’s Note: The video in the player above is from a previous report. 

While the FDA is set to authorize the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15-year-old’s later this week, teen trials are underway in northeast Ohio for a fourth Covid-19 vaccine with some children already stepping in.

“I wanted to participate so I can help other kids get vaccinated and so I can see my grandpa,” says Zoe Acosta.

12-year-old Zoe got her first shot a few days ago and so far, so good.

“I don’t have any reactions,” says Zoe. “Yeah, I feel good.”

One of the main reasons she wanted to be vaccinated was to go to Mexico later this year to visit her grandfather, Apolinar Acosta. He lived with her family for about six years and the two of them got very close.

“It’s been very difficult, obviously, for her to go two years without him,” says Zoe’s mother, Danielle Acosta. “So, this is a great opportunity since her father and I are vaccinated, her sister is vaccinated, now we will all have no concerns when we go visit him for New Year’s,” she explained. 

RELATED: Teen trial underway for fourth COVID-19 vaccine in northeast Ohio

Zoe is participating in a new phase 3 Novavax trial being conducted by Senders Pediatrics in South Euclid. It’s one of 75 sites across the country that’ll be testing 12 to 17-year-old’s, with two thirds getting the vaccine and one third getting a placebo. However, everyone will get the vaccine within 6 months. Volunteers will be monitored and tested for antibodies and side effects.

“The Novavax vaccine is more similar to the hepatitis b, HPV or the Ebola vaccines that have been licensed and in use for many years,” says Dr. Shelly Senders, founder and CEO of Senders Pediatrics.

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Dr. Senders has been running trials for over 20 years and says while some may question the need for another Covid-19 vaccine, it’s quite important. He feels it may turn out that vaccination with one and a boaster from another may end up being the perfect cocktail to ending the pandemic.

“It’s a Walter Mitty dream to be able to enroll people in trials that make a difference in the world,” says Senders.

For Zoe, her participation is twofold. Not only will she get to see grandpa Apolinar again, but she also feels she’s making a difference.

“The first thing I want to do is just hug him without having to worry about him getting sick,” says Zoe. “I think it’s exciting that just by getting a small shot that I can make a really big difference in the world.”

The adult trials for Novavax showed 96% effectiveness with side effects similar to the other Covid-19 vaccines, with some 24 cases of flu like symptoms. There are still spots open in the trial. If you’d like more information, contact Senders Pediatrics at

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