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Volunteers for COVID-19 trial vaccine talk about their experience

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 10:38 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The University of Iowa’s test vaccine trials for COVID-19 started last week.

Nate Shaw is one of the first volunteers to get a dose of the in-development vaccine. Shaw is a family medicine physician for University of Iowa Health Care in Iowa City. He’s been working on the front lines of health care during the pandemic, and he says that experience is exactly why he signed up.

“I do have exposure to patients who could have COVID-19. So, I have an inherent risk because I don’t have the opportunity to stay home and avoid all contact,” Shaw said.

Shaw got his first injection for the trial last week. He said the appointment involved blood draws and a nasal swab, and he’ll have to back in to get more blood drawn in follow-up appointments. The University of Iowa is planning to include 250 people in its part of the nationwide 30,000-person trial. Everyone either gets the vaccine or a placebo.

Patricia Winokur is the principal investigator for The University of Iowa’s part of the study. She said that having a working vaccine for COVID-19 would make a big difference in lowering cases.

“The population has no immunity to this virus that’s circulating, and that makes it so difficult to control the spread from person to person,” Winokur said.

Shaw agreed having a vaccine is important. He said he encourages anyone able to volunteer to do their part to help fight the virus.

“I’m pretty optimistic that a vaccine will help get the pandemic under control and move things toward normal,” Shaw said.

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