BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WAVE) - Pfizer, a notable biopharmaceutical company, has chosen a local research center in Bardstown to test out its COVID-19 vaccine. Tuesday, about 200 patients voluntarily took part in the vaccine trial at Kentucky Pediatrics and Adult Research.
In order to be a candidate for the trial, chosen patients have to be in good health. The researchers selected those who come from an array of backgrounds and are exposed to people regularly.
Marty Osbourn, COO and research director at Kentucky Pediatric and Research, says the purpose of the vaccine trial is to have the most in-depth and vast data to send to Pfizer as researchers continue to work on potential vaccines.
“To approve it for a wide population, they have to prove it’s safe, tolerable, effective, and has good immunotoxicity.”
Half of the patients got the vaccine, administered as a shot, while the other half got a placebo. They will get a second round in three weeks.
In total, the participants will have seven consultations with doctors at Kentucky Pediatrics and Adult Research over a span of two years while journaling their experiences daily.
Dr. Dan Finn, the principal investigator in the vaccine trial, says researchers are moving in the right direction. Pfizer has a fast track process with the FDA. Once the data comes in from these trials, Pfizer hopes enough data will be available to get approval for a vaccine.
”Our goal is to get a vaccine that works,” Dr. Finn said. “We can try to get back to some kind of normalcy in the community.”
Keasha Harmon, one of the trial participants, said she’s doing her part to help because she’s seen first-hand what the coronavirus can do as an EMS worker.
“It’s worth doing this trial to see if there is a way to get a vaccine that works so people don’t get sick,” she said.
Harmon started her career at 18 years old and said she was always motivated to help people after losing her parents as a child.
“I thought that if I could get into this field, I could help people so people didn’t have to go through what I did,” she said. “It makes you a little bit nervous, but somebody has to take the first initial step and that’s these wonderful people trying to do a trial run. I wanted to help them out.”