Rochester doctors ask for more volunteers in vaccine research trials through the holidays

Local News

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) is starting a new campaign to help with vaccine trials as more drug companies join in to help fight the coronavirus. 

These trials have been happening in Rochester since the summer with nearly 1,000 people participating. Researchers say that there are more trials to be done as get us closer to herd immunity. 

“Whether it’s big sporting events, festivals,” said Todd Butler from Causewave, “Whether it’s little things, for grandkids to hug their grandparents, or to have a birthday party for somebody where you can invite all your friends. All these things that we took for granted that have to go away, we can do something about that.” 

Butler is working with URMC, Rochester Regional Health, Monroe County Medical Society, and others to help spread the word about these vaccine trials that all start here.  

URMC infectious disease researcher doctor Michael Keefer says Rochester has helped in the Pfizer trial that has shown to be over 90 percent effective. Regardless, he says we are still far away from population-wide vaccinations and more vaccines need testing.  

“There’s still two additional vaccines, their studies haven’t even started yet in these efficacy trials,” said Keefer. His team says that the original trials were focused on those at a high risk for exposure, but now that the virus is everywhere, everyone is a potential volunteer for the vaccine. The research crew is still favoring older adults for the trials with co-morbidities and diverse backgrounds. The trials continue through the end of December and into the beginning of 2021. 

“It’s going to take 6-12 months to get these vaccines out broadly. Certainly, healthcare workers, first responders, probably nursing home residents are going to be in the first wave.” Keefer says those that get a placebo in the trial would be next in line. 

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