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How Jacksonville helped contribute in clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines

Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research had over 700 patients for both vaccines

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine reaches Jacksonville
Moderna COVID-19 vaccine reaches Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Now that two vaccines have been approved and are already being distributed, how did Jacksonville turn out in clinical trials to contribute?

Hundreds of clinical trials were done in the Jacksonville area, helping approve vaccines for COVID-19.

The Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research had over 700 patients for both vaccines.

Clinical trials for the recently approved Moderna started in late July.

After months of research and clinical trials, News4Jax is told Jacksonville patients responded well.

News4Jax asked Michael Koren, the director of research at the Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research, how people should determine which vaccine to get.

“I have very simple advice: Whichever one you can get first,” Michael Koren said.

Data from the Jacksonville Center shows 300 patients did the Moderna study and 470 patients did the Pfizer study. Both vaccines had demographics like the national average with 10% African Americans and 20%-30% Hispanic.

“It was diverse across age groups and disproportionately involving healthcare workers and other people who had high exposure risks,” Koren said.

Koren said both use technology to expose our bodies to a small portion of the virus, without getting it, and that both vaccines require two doses.

But it’s after the second dose, he said, where the side effects became more prevalent in their studies because it’s activated the immune system.

“We’re seeing more muscle aches, more fevers, low-grade fevers usually, maybe just some general malaise for a couple of days,” Koren said.

News4Jax asked Koren about the people who shouldn’t get the vaccine.

“So if you have immune deficiency, if you’re on steroids, if you have something where you’ve been allergic to other vaccines or you have multiple allergies to medications, maybe this is not the best thing for you,” Koren said.

Instead, Koren said you should get guidance from a personal physician.

While the Moderna vaccine has only done clinical trials for ages 18 and up, Koren said more studies should be conducted.

News4Jax also asked Koren about people who may be asymptomatic, and he said even if they were exposed to the virus, getting the vaccine would make it unlikely for them to spread it to others, but you should still wear your mask and social distance.

About the Author:

A Florida girl and North Carolina A&T SU grad who thrives in breaking news.