JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Just this week the first results from the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial show the vaccine is safe and effective in children 5 to 11 years old. Still, children all over the world are being monitored to see if those results hold true.
The Hendricks family, with five kids ranging from 15 months to 13 years old, decided to juggle dance, baseball, swimming, school, homework and having their three youngest children participate in the vaccine trial.
Cicely and Scotty Hendricks are Jacksonville natives but had just moved to Memphis when the wife saw an article about the trial.
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this would be great,’” Cicely said.
She made a call to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“We literally were the last three in the country to enter the trial,” she said.
Cicely has worked in biotech pharmaceutical sales for 20 years and understands drugs don’t get to the public without clinical trials. She wanted her family to be a part of protecting others from this deadly virus.
“It’s super important to be on this side of history and because we wanted to let everybody know that this vaccine is safe,” Hendricks said. Her oldest son Tripp is 13 and he’s already vaccinated. As for 9-year-old Stone and 8-year-old Sevyn, they had to agree to participate and they can pull out at any time. “Once I explained to them the importance of you know what this vaccine means to the world and how you as a people should be looking to protect others they were all in,” Cicely said.
Slad, her 15-month-old, put up the biggest fuss.
“Hers was mostly because there was blood drawn there’s a lot of other things that you know happened prior to getting the injection and she was like OK listen, but I mean she was great. The nurses at Saint Jude hospital were amazing,” Cicely said.
It’s a double-blind placebo-controlled study. The researcher nor the families know if the kids even got the vaccine but when the vaccine is approved, Hendricks said they’ll be first in line to get it.
“It’s just very important once you know we get approval for this vaccine. Trust your healthcare provider, talk to them, ask questions. Do your own due diligence, you know people like to say I’m doing research. The research has been done, the research has been proven, it’s been almost 20 years of research for this particular molecule that is going into this vaccine. So just talk to your healthcare provider but what we must do if we want to get on the other side of this pandemic and the only way to do that is for people to be vaccinated,” Cicely said.
Taking part in a clinical trial is a commitment. The Hendrick family must monitor the kids for a year, record any side effects and they must check in with researchers as well. Cicely knows how important it is to have a diverse population in clinical trials so that the results represent all people.
“We know the history of African-Americans and clinical trials and some of the things that you know we’ve had to deal with. Just not trusting being on that side of what gets drugs to market. So, what I wanted to do is make sure that people understood that if we’re not represented in the clinical trials we won’t be there and will not be able to really show how it works in our bodies and so, for me having, that representation of African-American children in this trial was extremely important,” Cicely said.