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Mother-daughter duo participating in Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trial

Kelli Votaw's 15-year-old daughter Grace Barmad was determined to participate in the children's trial after watching her mom thrive following the adult trial.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A vaccine trial beginning Monday is possibly one step closer to a COVID-19 vaccine for children.

The Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research began the trial with Novavax, which includes children ages 12 to 17 years old.

Both Kelli Votaw and her 15-year-old daughter Grace Barmad are participating in trials for the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine.

“Same trial—just different time frames,” Votaw said.

Votaw received two of her does and a placebo in recent weeks.

After watching her mother volunteer for the vaccine and thrive, Grace said she wanted to do the same thing.

“I want to make a difference and help others like me,” Grace said.

Grace said she is not nervous at all.

“I think I haven’t been this excited for a long time,” Grace said. “I can see my friends without having to be 6 feet apart and feel like a person again.”

The trial opened to children ages 12 to 17 years old Monday at the Jacksonville Center For Clinical Research. Grace starts the children’s trial Thursday.

Votaw says participating in the vaccine trial gave her a sense of control.

“I feel like it’s my civic duty,” Votaw said. “I can’t control anything right now, but I can do this.”

Grace is excited to have that same feeling.

“You can really make a difference even at your age,” Grace said. “If you can get the vaccine, get the vaccine. Be a leader and not a follower.”