Metro Atlanta kids participate in Moderna vaccine trial

ATLANTA — Pfizer is now requesting the FDA allow kids aged 12 to 15 to get its shot, after trial results showed 100% efficacy in that age group.

And now for the first time, Channel 2 is hearing from children in metro Atlanta who are taking part in Moderna’s vaccine trial.

Lindsey Markwood’s two boys are among thousands of participants taking part in a Moderna Covid-19 vaccine trial for kids aged 12 to 17.

Her sons went in for their shots at a site in DeKalb County. Before getting the shots, bloodwork was taken, a COVID test performed and the children were asked multiple health-related questions.

“They’re a part of history. I mean, what other opportunity as a middle schooler do you get to impact the entire world,” said Markwood.

Her kids won’t find out for several months whether they actually had the vaccine, or a placebo. It’s a 13 month trial.

“Zachary, his arm was swollen. It was hot to the touch, but no fever,” she said.


Zachary, who is in 6th grade, and brother Joshua, who is in 8th grade, told us they feel grateful to contribute to science and the community.

“I’m trying to encourage kids to get the shot,” said Zachary Markwood, who got one of the shots on his 12th birthday. Now his bar mitzvah project is centered around helping other children feel comfortable getting the vaccine.

“The main reason I wanted to do it was to have the potential to be protected against COVID, but also to help others and allow others to be vaccinated by my efforts,” said Joshua Markwood.

Tricia Gephardt’s kids are taking part in the same trial. They got their first shots February 19th and their second shots March 22nd.

13-year-old Ernest Gephardt had some side effects after the second dose.

“He woke up around 6 a.m. with a 103 degree fever, with aches and chills and kind of what we expected,” said Tricia Gephardt. However, after some Advil and sleep, he was able to go to school the same day. Older brother Truman, 15, had no side effects, which makes him wonder if he got the placebo.

“I just feel like as a citizen, I feel like it is you know my duty to do this,” said Ernest Gephardt.

The children we spoke with who are participating in the trial told us they have apps on their phones which they use to communicate with the doctors and document any side effects. They said they’ll return in a few weeks to the DeKalb County site, where researchers will test for antibodies.