‘I say go for it’: Local teens detail Pfizer vaccine trial experience

Local News

DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) – On the heels of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for emergency use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children as young as 12 years old, two local teens talk about their experience participating in vaccine trials.

Twelve-year-old Isabella Fahrni and 13-year-old Leila Farinsky Meeker from Davis enrolled in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial at Kaiser Permanente, and in January, they rolled up their sleeves. 

“I was more excited because shots don’t really scare me,” Isabella told FOX40.

“I was pretty sure I wanted to do it when I heard about it,” Leila explained. “It didn’t take very long to decide.”

The pair spent the next few months journaling their experience and comparing notes.

“We would always talk about our side effects together,” Isabella said.

“I got my first shot two days after she did,” Leila told FOX40.

Isabella logged no symptoms from either shot, while Leila reported a fever and vomiting after her second dose.

“It was the day after I got my shot that I had most of my symptoms, and the day after that I had almost nothing,” she said.

Their parents had to agree to let them participate, which turned out to be an easy choice.

“We were all for it,” said Leila’s father, David Meeker. “We have a lot of high-risk people in our family, and so, it was important to us to have her get vaccinated as early as possible, but she made the ultimate decision. She was a trooper, very brave, braver than I was for sure.”

The decision was especially easy for Isabella’s mom, Dr. Ana Rodriguez-Fahrni.

“I felt pretty comfortable because I had already had the vaccine myself in December, the Pfizer vaccine, so I knew what I went through,” she explained. “So, I thought it was going to be OK and she kind of drove it too. She was excited and wanted to do it, so I was like alright.”

And their efforts paid off, with the FDA giving Pfizer the green light Monday to vaccinate kids as young as 12 years old, thanks in part to trials like this one.

“It’s something I can be excited and proud about that I helped (make) it happen,” Leila told FOX40.

For those on the fence about getting the vaccine, Isabella had this advice:

“I say go for it because it’s better than getting sick and dying, and you’re protecting your family,” she said. “If you’re scared of needles, don’t be scared of this shot because the flu shot hurt more than this.”

Overall, 2,260 adolescents participated in the Pfizer vaccination trial, with 134 of them enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California portion.

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