WORCESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - UMass Medical School in Worcester is participating in a clinical trial to test Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine on adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17.

Moderna is expected to enroll 3,000 teenagers at up to 15 sites nationwide in its Teen Cove Study.

Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga, Director of the University of Massachusetts Center for Clinical and Translational Science, says there are several goals for the trial.

“To look at whether the immune responses that are generated in kids are similar to those that were seen in adults,” she explained.

Researchers also hope to understand the safety level of the shot for teens and figure out how effective the vaccine is for participants.

The majority of those in the study will receive the real shot, while the rest will get a placebo. They will be monitored for a year after their second dose.

Luzuriaga says it’s crucial to get the vaccine out to everyone regardless of age.

“While the rate of severe disease may be lower, some children really do get sick with COVID,” she said.

Right now, no vaccines are authorized to be given out to children. The Moderna vaccine starts at 18 years old and the Pfizer vaccine starts at 16.

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