PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Moderna found its coronavirus vaccine to be 94.5 percent effective in Phase 3 of its trials.
As vaccine development continues, KDKA had the chance to talk to one of the participants in that trial.
The first person to register for the Moderna vaccine trial in Pittsburgh was Dr. John Williams, the division chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UPMC Children’s Hospital. He said his parents and children were his main motivation, so he wanted to do his part to make a vaccine happen.
“For them to have that, people like me need to sign up for these trials,” said Dr. John Williams. “I’ve always participated in vaccine trials. I believe very strongly in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and think it’s important for all of us to do our part,” said Williams.
Williams said participating required three in-person visits to UPMC’s University Center in Oakland.
“First, to get the vaccine and blood drawn. Second, to get another dose of the vaccine and more blood drawn and then third, a follow-up visit where they drew more blood to look at the immune response to the vaccine over time,” said Williams.
Williams said that’s not all. Through an app, Williams said he’s reminded every day to check his symptoms.
“Arm soreness, fatigue or fever and then it sends periodic reminders after that, and they do call or email to check-in as well,” said Williams.
If you have coronavirus symptoms, Williams said you have to get swabbed. He said he doesn’t know if he was given the vaccine or a placebo and won’t know until the trial is finished and submitted to the FDA, which he said could be as soon as next month.
“My guess is that I got the placebo because often with a vaccine, you have a little bit of soreness in our arm and I didn’t have any,” said Williams.
Regardless, he believes taking part in vaccine trials is safe and encourages others to do the same.
“By the time a vaccine is tested in humans, it’s been through lots of trials in the lab and lots of trials in animals and a number of trials in small groups of humans before it gets to what we are hearing about now,” said Williams.
Williams also said a pediatric trial for the vaccine will begin within the next month or so.