‘The one way I can protect them’: Parents enroll kids in early COVID-19 vaccine trials

Photo: Lighttruth/Creative Commmons/CC BY-NC 2.0

By Amanda Morris | Arizona Republic

Steve Plimpton delivered all three of Rachel Guthrie’s children, so when he approached her and asked her to participate in one of the early kid-focused trials of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, she was immediately on board.

She enrolled her 3-year-old son, Ollie, and 2-year-old daughter, Charlotte, and then she invited both of her sisters-in-law to sign up. 

Ashley Guthrie enrolled both her children, 7-year-old daughter Lily and 4-year-old son Ryder, and Ashton Swenson, the third sister-in-law and a mother of four, enrolled her two eligible children, 9-year-old Phoebe and 6-year-old Arlo.

Now all six cousins will be among the first children in Arizona to receive the Moderna vaccine. The three sisters-in-law hope the trial can help return society to normal — especially for their children, who have been clamoring for playdates, sleepovers and visits to grandma’s house. 

“It’s not that I want my kids to be guinea pigs,” Rachel Guthrie said. “At this point, this pandemic has affected all of us. There’s not one person that hasn’t been touched by this and somebody has to step up. In order to get this process approved for the general population, people have to volunteer.”

Moderna announced last week that it had started enrolling children age six months through 11 years old in a trial of its COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently only approved for anyone over the age of 18.

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