Omaha research clinic looking for vaccine trial participants

Now that a vaccine is here experts say it does not mean vaccine trials are not needed.
Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 5:23 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Now that a vaccine is here, experts say it does not mean vaccine trials are not needed.

“Pfizer has come out and said they do not have enough vaccines to vaccinate the United States more or less the entire world. And so, vaccines are going to continue to get developed,” said Seneca Harrison, CEO of Quality Clinical Research Inc.

Harrison said at least four other companies are producing a COVID-19 vaccine of their own.

As part of Nebraska’s distribution plan frontline workers are now getting vaccinated. However, Harrison is looking for participants for another clinical trial.

“Sanofi Pasteur has a vaccine coming out at the beginning of the year. Mid-January we’ll start enrolling into that trial. The difference is one is a protein base, and the other one is an RNA molecule,” he explained.

Harrison said his research clinic had more than 300 participants for the Pfizer vaccine trial. He said these new studies are just as important.

“Participating in a research trial is to make sure that these other vaccines work too just as well as Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine that has just got approved,” Harrison added.

In the first trial, Harrison said they have a minority participation rate of 35 percent, which exceeded their expectations. He hopes even more people of color continue to join these trials.

“We just need to make sure it works in every race and every person, man, woman, and child,” he said.

Those who participate in these studies will likely be monitored for two years to help researchers understand everything there is to know about COVID-19. Harrison said participants can leave the study at any time. Those who get the placebo in the Pfizer vaccine trials will eventually get the real vaccine.

He also said just because a vaccine is available, the fight against the virus is far from over.

“We really don’t know the long-term effects of COVID or if there’s any effects of the vaccines. Or if we have to re-vaccinate over again like the flu once a year. Or if this is just a one-time vaccination,”

Harrison said the only side effects he’s noticed at his facility are the same that a flu vaccine will have. This includes chills, body aches, and a fever. He said all of these symptoms last less than 48 hours.

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