Kaiser Permanente looking for teen subjects for COVID-19 vaccine trial

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Kaiser Permanente is recruiting teenagers in the Sacramento and Santa Clara areas to expand a COVID-19 vaccine trial that has so far shown early results of a 94% effectiveness rate in adults.

Kaiser Permanente is well suited to conduct vaccine trials because it does a good job in keeping track of patients in its health system.

Last summer, Kaiser began vaccine trials with 343 adults and has now started trials for 16- and 17-year-olds. It will soon expand to 12- to 15-year-olds to see how different segments of the population respond to the vaccine.

“I really wanted to do what I could to help us get out of this,” said 17-year-old trial participant Allyson Eisenman.

Eisenman volunteered for the study, getting two shots of either a vaccine or a placebo.

She knew of many Halloween parties held by people her age without precautions and likely contributing to the surge.

“Those people who are being selfish and not doing that [taking precautions], they’re just going to bring it home to their families and help it spread more,” Eisenman told FOX40.

Eisenman’s dad and mom, a nurse, volunteered for the adult vaccine trial.

“Whether it’s measles or polio, vaccines work, and my other opinion is somebody’s got to do it and this is our chance to contribute,” Allyson’s dad, Jeff Eisenman, told FOX40.

Half the participants get a placebo for the study; neither father nor daughter knows if they got the vaccine or not, although Jeff Eisenman felt a bit lethargic after his first shot.

“It’s called a double-blind trial, so I don’t know what they received, they don’t know what they received, and that is the best way to evaluate how something works,” explained Dr. Nicola Klein of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center.

That’s fine with Eisenman because she has a 50/50 chance of getting the real vaccine, affording her early protection.

“If I happen to get the vaccine and it works, then I’d already have it. So I know it won’t be out to the general public, it will go to healthcare workers first. So if I happen to get it, I’ll be one of the first people to have it,” Eisenman said.

Kaiser will monitor volunteers closely for two years, although the vaccine itself could be certified for use in several months.

If you are a Kaiser Permanente member and are interested in participating in the teenage vaccine trial, you can contact Kaiser by emailing vaccinestudycenter@kp.org.

You can also go to kpstudysearch.kaiser.org, type “covid” into the Find a Study search bar, click on the “California – Northern” option, and click on to the last study on the list.

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