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11-year-old shares his experience as part of COVID vaccine trial

At age 10 many kids want more views on TikTok or more time with friends, but for Aeon Bashir, he wanted to be part of the COVID vaccine trial for kids.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — At age 10 many kids want more views on TikTok or more time with friends, but for Aeon Bashir, he wanted to be a part of the COVID vaccine trial for kids.

Bashir who is now 11, says he wanted to participate in the trial so he could get back to activities and travel to other countries.

"I can help be part of getting things back to normal for kids," Bashir said.

Bashir's mom, Menaka Nagarajan, says she was nervous, especially since her family had never been a part of a medical trial before.

Nagarajan and her husband both got the Pfizer shot and encourage other adults to do the same, but when it came to their child, she says she was extremely nervous.

“Every parent is trying to do the best to keep these kids safe. We are in the same boat as every other parent," Nagarajan said.

After weighing the benefits of the trial, she agreed to do it after Bashir was chosen.

"First I was happy because I got to do the trial and then I was a tiny bit nervous," Bashir said.

On June 7, Nagarajan, her husband and Bashir packed up the car and drove eight hours to Hastings, Nebraska – the closest place that was taking part in the Pfizer vaccine trial for kids.

Bashir got the shot, but they're not sure if it was the COVID vaccine.

"The trial itself is a vaccine placebo make so for every three kids, one will get a placebo," Nagarajan said.

The family also went back to Hastings for the second dose on June 28 and in six months they will find out if Bashir got the placebo.

Bashir says the side effects from the shot were mild.

"A sore arm and like a heat rash," Bashir said.

As the vaccine trial continues, some parents have thought about jumping the gun and getting the vaccine “off-label” for their younger children now that it has full FDA approval.

Off-label refers to an approved product being used in a way that a patient isn’t necessarily approved for.

“So the thing parents are asking is, 'Could we get a prescription for our child who is under 12?', so technically that is legal but it’s not a very good practice," said Kirsten Dougherty, who is a nurse practitioner at Wayzata Children's Clinic.

Doughtery says the clinic has gotten several phone calls about parents wanting the vaccine off-label, however, most health care systems and pharmacies are not doing this because the trials and data are not complete.

In the meantime, Dougherty is telling parents to hang tight.

“We’re really hoping that a vaccine would be approved for emergency use authorization for children within the next month or two," Dougherty said.

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