SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Pfizer submitted a request for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration after clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine have proven to be 95% effective in adults.
Kaiser Permanente has been running trials for Pfizer at four sites, including a location in Santa Clara. Kaisers has expanded the study to 16 and 17-year-olds. They'll add 12 to 15 year-olds soon.
"Well my parents had both already done it and they only had slight flu symptoms for a day so I knew that was probably the worst that would happen to me. I didn't feel like I was in any danger," said study participant Allyson Eisenman, 17.
Eisenman said the shots she received felt like any others and she had no adverse reactions. She monitors her temperature through an app each week.
"That's part of the point of this study is to try and understand whether these vaccines appear to be working well in adolescents and hopefully younger children as well," said Dr. Nicola Klein of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center.
Meanwhile, Pfizer and partner BioNTech took a big step today, requesting emergency use authorization from the FDA. They say they could be ready to distribute the vaccine within hours of approval.
The Eisenman family says they're proud to have participated.
"Someone needs to do it. There needs to be volunteers and this is our chance to contribute," said Jeff Eisenman, Allyson's dad who is also a study participant.
This is a double-blind study, meaning Allyson won't know whether she got the real thing or a placebo.
"For me, if I got the placebo then it would be like nothing changed. But if I did get the vaccine and it works, then I'd already have it," she said. "Especially as teenagers are one of the most irresponsible people during the pandemic and I wanted to do what I can to help get us out."
A decision by the FDA could come in mid-December. Pfizer and BioNTech said hey have the potential to supply up to 50 million vaccine doses globally in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.