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'He tells his friends he is saving the world' | An inside look at Moderna's pediatric vaccine trial

Christian Mugera, 8, from Clarksburg, just received his first COVID-19 vaccine. He is part of the University of Maryland School of Medicine's vaccine trial.

CLARKSBURG, Md. — Christian Mugera tell his friends he is saving the world. The Clarksburg 8-year old is part of the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Moderna vaccine trial. His father, Dr. Charles Mugera says it was an easy decision to enroll him. 

"Eventually I think they were convinced by the fact they would get their life back and go to school to see their friends. I think that eventually got them totally invested," said Dr. Mugera. 

This week, the FDA and the CDC approved emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine in kids ages 12 to 15 years old. As those first shots go into the arms of children, the focus is now on finding out how the vaccine impacts even younger age groups.

The Mugera family initially signed both of their boys up for the trial, but researchers had a hard time drawing blood from the older son, so they pulled him out. Christian, the younger son, just received his first of two full doses of the Moderna vaccine. His father says he did not have any side effects. 

"Surprisingly, he had no side effects. He just had a little bit of a sore arm after the vaccine. We take his temperature and document any symptoms like lethargy, fatigue or muscle aches and excessive sleepiness. Everything we recorded was negative," said Dr. Mugera. 

RELATED: DC, Maryland, Virginia begin vaccinating kids age 12-15

Christian is one of several kids in our area enrolled in the 'KidCove' trial. The study looks at how children, as young as six months old, react to the shot. In the first phase of the trial, there are no placebos. Every child get the real vaccine. 

Dr. James Campbell is the lead researcher of the 'KidCove' trial.

"We start with the oldest children, 6 to 11 years old and move down from 2 to 5-year-olds, and 6 month to 23 month olds. We're testing different doses. Both the adult dose -- the one that anyone who is adult that got the Moderna vaccine would have gotten -- then half that dose, and a quarter of that dose," said Campbell. 

For the Mugera family, participating in this study is just one step closer to getting back to normal life. 

RELATED: VERIFY: Yes, kids should get the COVID-19 vaccine

"I think what I'd like to tell parents is this is one of the successes of science, and we should trust the science. All of us have fear of the unknown, but science is proving that this is a predictable disease and it can be overcome," said Dr. Mugera. 

Christian is scheduled to get his second dose of the vaccine at the end of May. Both Pfizer and Moderna hope to have data for kids ages 2 to 11 years old, along with emergency use authorization, by the end of the year. 

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