Baptist Health needs volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine study

Experts say the best candidates for the trials are people who work outside the home and people who are over the age of 65.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Researchers at Baptist Health are reaching out to the public in an effort to help end the pandemic for good.

The Baptist Center for Clinical Research is helping the NIAID study, which is one of the world’s most promising vaccine candidates.

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Baptist Health Center for Clinical Research president and CEO Dr. Richard G. Pellegrino, MD, PhD, said we’re in dire need of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“The last three weeks or so we’ve had a major spike in hospitalizations and cases,” Pellegrino said.

The vaccine has been in the works for months and is ready to enter the final stages of research.

“It is a vaccine that is made by a company named Moderna, and it happens to be one of the first to enter late-stage trials,” Pellegrino said.

Over 30,000 volunteers are needed from around the nation for this to work.

“This phase 3 study which looks at whether the vaccine is actually able to prevent people from being infected with COVID-19,” Pellegrino said.

So far, they’ve seen good results.

“There were no serious adverse events. People did have some redness at the injection site like you get with vaccines, but nothing worrisome,” Pellegrino said.

This was one of two important discoveries.

“They made antibodies that killed the coronavirus,” Pellegrino said.

The best candidates for the trials are people who work outside the home and people who are over the age of 65.

They hope volunteers will be able to help with their research, while possibly also helping themselves.

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“We’re looking for volunteers, and again going to the website arkansascovidvaccine.com does not commit you to anything, but without volunteers, we can’t do anything,” Pellegrino said.

Companies are making doses of vaccines now, so if they’re proven effective, they can be distributed right away.