BRUNSWICK, Ga. – A St. Simons Island woman who took part in the trial says she is optimistic that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine will help prevent the spread of the virus.
Dianne Durand, 75, said she had the opportunity to volunteer for Pfizer’s research study involving the vaccine, which was done at a lab in Brunswick in addition to nearly 90 other studies across the country.
“I want to be part of the solution, not the problem,” she said.
Durand said she had a friend recommend she sign up for a Pfizer vaccine trial in Brunswick and she got selected.
“I am 75. I live in a vacation community, which has a lot of people from the outside, and I’m healthy,” she told News4Jax on Wednesday.
She took two shots, three weeks apart not knowing if her dose was a placebo or a possible step toward immunity.
After each shot, she developed a slight fever, but the next day, she said she felt fine.
“I asked my nurse, I said ‘Well, I had a reaction. Does that mean I have the vaccine?’ And all she could say was ‘Well, that would make sense.’ Not a yes, not a no. But ‘that would make sense,’” Durand said.
Naturally curious, she later got her own test and found she’s positive for the antibodies.
One of tens of thousands of volunteers to take part in the trial with no reports of serious side effects, Durand is thrilled to see the vaccine get the green light in Great Britain and hopes the U.S. is next.
On Wednesday, British regulators became the first to approve emergency use of the vaccine, after Pfizer reported at least 95% effectiveness. With the U.K.’s approval, millions of doses will begin to be distributed within about a week.
The United States Food and Drug Administration is set to evaluate the vaccine on Dec. 10. If they approve it for emergency use, then it could be first available by the end of the year. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he hopes it will be first offered to those in long-term care facilities and to health care workers.
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“All of the research in the development of the vaccine is no good unless people actually take the vaccine,” Durand noted. “And that is the message: do not be afraid and take the vaccine. I want to play bridge. I want my kids to go to school. I want our businesses to all work. I want us to go back to where we were before the pandemic.”
Durand said she had no pre-existing conditions. Critics of the vaccine trial are concerned that the drugmaker didn’t test it out on people who are more at risk for serious complications from the coronavirus.