Louisville woman participates in Pfizer and BioNTech’s booster shot trial

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 4:00 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2021 at 8:21 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As the U.S. faces a new virus that is twice as contagious as it was last summer, the Delta COVID-19 variant, many are asking how they can better protection themselves against infection.

For months, top health experts claim a coronavirus vaccine would be the best suit of armor against the virus. Pfizer and BioNTech was the first pharmaceutical company to receive emergency use authorization for its COVID vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2020. Susan Anderson, of Louisville, was one of the first people to receive it during Pfizer’s clinical trial in September.

“Every week I go on to an app that I downloaded on my phone,” Anderson said. “I answer the questions. It’s just whether you’ve had any of these symptoms I hit ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Mine’s always been no.”

Anderson was encouraged to resume a normal life while tracking her health each week. So far, she said she has never been diagnosed with COVID.

As more Americans received the shot, COVID cases and deaths decreased across the country. Find more vaccine tracking information through the CDC by clicking here.

But what happens when a vaccine begins to wear off, like other vaccines have in the past. For example, physicians encourage the flu shot once a year. Now with the Delta variant causing rapid infections, health experts question if a third vaccine would increase protection.

Pfizer and BioNTech began another clinical trial to study a booster shot. The study will include participants in its initial trial, including Anderson.

“It’ll be treated just like the last study,” Anderson said. “If you have the placebo, once it goes public they open all of those files and you will be the first ones in to get that booster.”

Monday, Anderson had her blood drawn at the Kentucky Pediatric Adult Research Center in Bardstown, Ky. A blood sample will allow research to examine how well the vaccine is working against the virus. Anderson will also be asked to track her health once a week like the previous trial. She is scheduled for another blood test in January.

In the initial data released from Pfizer and BioNTech’s booster shot trial, it found a third dose delivered about six months after the second shot showed neutralization titers that are five to 10 times higher than he initial vaccination.

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