DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. — Manufacturing and studying a COVID-19 vaccine is a complex process and takes the help of people from all over the country.
In the Piedmont Triad, hundreds of people are playing an important role in a study of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. It promises to be 95% effective against the coronavirus.
“I think that the future is definitely looking better now that the vaccine is promising,” said Kim Richard, who’s lives in Davidson County and is participating in the study.
“I knew the trial was going on, but I didn’t know it was going on so close to us,” she explained. “It will save countless lives, and that’s just not something that you come across very often in your lifetime.”
Kim sees the devastating impact the coronavirus plays every shift she works as a nurse at Novant Health in Winston-Salem.
“I met families who couldn’t visit their loved ones because they had COVID,” Kim said. “They were hospitalized, and I felt their pain and suffering.”
Keeping her own family and patients in mind, she took a leap of faith.
“I am just wanting to do something to help them and future families that may have to deal with the same thing,” she said.
Kim walked through the doors at PMG Research in Winston-Salem to participate in the paid vaccine study.
“Little nervous because it was the time, you know, but I knew in my heart it was what I want to do,” she said.
Her first appointment to get the vaccine trial took three hours, including a COVID-19 test, a physical and signing a 25-page consent form.
“It’s a 50-50. I could 50% got it or 50% didn’t get it,” she explained.
Kim and thousands of other participants are tracking weekly symptoms.
She has not experienced any side effects. Every six months she has to check in with researchers during the two-year study.
“Faster, the better because it’s going to save so many people, and every day is more lives lost,” Kim added. “I don’t want anyone I know or love to have to go through that same pain that I’m having to see people that I don’t know go through.”
Pfizer’s emergency use authorization request is currently being reviewed by the FDA.
If approved, the pharmaceutical company plans to distribute 6.4 million doses of the vaccine across the United States in mid-December.
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