MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some of the youngest Minnesotans are now getting vaccinated against COVID-19. It’s part of Moderna’s new trial. Kids ages 6 to 11 and 2 to 5 started participating this week. A medical office in downtown Minneapolis is the only place in the region accepting patients.

Dr. Gary Berman and his team at the Clinical Research Institute have conducted more than a thousand trials over 30-plus years. He says Moderna’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine is the most sought after.

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“Most attention, most interest,” Berman said.

They’ve already determined the right dose for kids under 12. It will be half of what adults get, or 50 micrograms. They’re ready for kids to roll up their sleeves.

“It’s blood draws, it’s nasal swabs, it’s exams, it’s getting the shot, it’s participating and explaining how you’re feeling,” Berman explains.

Some will get the vaccine, others will get placebo. The team will watch for side effects.

“Pain at the injection site, redness at injection site,” Dr. Berman said.

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So far more than 800 have signed up to be part of the study, but they’re still looking for more to fill the roughly 70 spots.

The study is especially looking for diverse participants: African American, Hispanic, Native American and Pacific Islander.

“Just to make sure that there’s no differences on how people experience the vaccine,” Berman said.

He says what’s happening today will help shape the future of pediatric COVID-19 vaccines.

“We’re doing our part to contribute to the whole nation and the whole world getting these vaccines available to the younger age group,” Berman said.

Berman said if you are interested in enrolling your child in the trial, to sign up now. Patients selected will be called in August and September.

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Jennifer Mayerle