COVID-19 vaccine trial underway at URMC, one participant got involved for her grandfather

Local News

Rochester, NY (WROC) — The University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health have started a COVID-19 vaccine trial, a collaboration that makes Rochester one of four sites selected to take part in a study that expands around the world.

Rebecca Timmons got her first shot of a COVID-19 trail vaccine Thursday.

She says she got involved in the study to help out the people, like her 96-year-old grandfather.

“Personally, I’m personally worried about for example for my 96 year old grandmother and I have not been able to hug him nor has anyone else,” said Rebecca Timmons, a trial participant.

90 healthy people are participating for the two year study that will test the effectiveness of a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

“So they’ve asked me to track my temperature and any symptoms that I might be experiencing and also to keep an eye on the injection sight, they gave me a measuring device so that I can measure if I have any redness or swelling in that area,” said Timmons.

Rochester is one of only four sites in the U.S. conducting early stage clinical trials of this vaccine

Dr. Edward Walsh is leading the vaccine study. He says it’s important to move now while infection rates are low and using healthy people, so the reaction they are seeing is the antibodies reacting to the virus — not to any other possible infection.

“So we would like to get a vaccine before the majority of people get infected because once that happens, the value and the utility of the vaccine would be diminished,” said Dr. Walsh.

For Timmons, her hope is that by participating she can help researchers to move heading in a fast and fact based fashion.

“It would be amazing if this works and this would be able to get us out of this situation that we’re in right now,” said Timmons.

Timmons said she will get her next dose in two weeks, with checkups for the following two years.

Right now two different variations of same vaccines are being tested to find the most effective solution. One at NYU, Maryland, Cincinnati and here in Rochester.

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