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'I thought I would help kids all over the country get their COVID-19 vaccine': 9-year-old Phoenix boy wants to lead by example in ending the pandemic

A 9-year-old is participating in the Moderna vaccine trial for kids six months to under 12 years in hopes to inspire others to get the vaccine.

PHOENIX — Jacob Best is passionate about hockey. He's a goalie for a local league and loves cheering on his Arizona Cayotes.

However, when practices were canceled and the NHL season stalled due to rising cases last March, the nine-year-old had a lot of questions about Covid-19. 

“What exactly is this virus? What’s happening?" Jacob asked.

 His mom, an OBGYN, and dad did their best to answer those questions.

"We sat them down and kept bringing up safety," said Jacob's mom Dr. Julie Davis-Best. "We're wearing masks to keep the people around us healthy and they understood with their mother being a doctor." 

The Covid-19 vaccine offers a return to normalcy

Drugmaker Moderna is the first of the three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. to launch a trial testing the vaccine's efficacy and safety on children between the ages of six months and less than 12 years old.  

"A friend of mine who is a pediatrician told me about the trial," Davis-Best said. "So I talked to Cory (her husband) and talked to Jacob about a clinical trial." 

Jacob wanted to help. "We left it up to him," said Jacob's dad Cory.    

“He goes 'If I do this, could I be helping kids all over the place?' And we said yes and you kind of feel this swell of pride because you’re like okay we did something right,” Davis-Best said.

“I thought I would help kids all over the country get their covid-19 vaccine,” Jacob said. 

RELATED: Biden pushes shots for young adults as variant concern grows

How does it work?

The study is a collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. 

Phoenix is one of eight test sites in the U.S. and has started enrolling participants. 

The company is enrolling nearly 7,000 children. Dr. Steve Plimpton is an OBGYN and the principal investigator for the trial in Phoenix

“In essence, it’s for the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine for this age group but it has other tangents that will benefit as well because of the other people around those children,” said Plimpton. 

"Right now we have 20 participants at our site," said Jason Wallace, the clinical site manager in Phoenix. "Once the children enroll, it's a 14-month long study involving blood draws and they are producing anti-bodies." 

U.S. still working towards herd immunity 

The Biden administration acknowledged the U.S. will fall short of the 70% vaccination goal by the July 4 holiday and is now turning efforts to younger Americans with the much more aggressive Delta variant on the rise. 

Jacob is excited to return to the ice and his friends. He hopes anyone who's nervous to get the vaccine will follow his lead. 

“It’s pretty painless, felt like a little pinch,” Jacob said. 

To participate in the trial, contact MedPharmics at 602-368-1928.   

COVID-19 Vaccine

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