Jacksonville clinic begins Pfizer vaccine booster trials

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While there is still a national debate over whether people who got the COVID-19 vaccination will be required to get a booster shot, the Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research just began a trial for the Pfizer vaccine booster shot.

The booster trial is only open to people who participated in the original Pfizer vaccine trial before the vaccine was given emergency use authorization.

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The people taking part in the booster trial received the Pfizer vaccine six months ago.

Researchers are now trying to see if, after six months, certain participants need a booster based on how many anti-bodies are still in their system.

Kathy Hill is a retired teacher who is one of many people taking part in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster trial.

“My husband and I are both in this study and we wanted to see what we could do to help fight COVID,” Hill said.

Other’s like Darick McGriff are in the booster trial to show other African Americans that the vaccine is safe.

“So I try to change their mindset,” McGriff said.

COVID-19 researchers at the clinical facility say there’s a reason why it’s necessary to study who and who doesn’t need a booster shot.

“We have seen some waning of antibodies and protection. We’re not sue if it’s going to be necessary for everyone, but what we’re doing right now is to find out,” said research coordinator Alex Hill.

“Well I’m hoping they will find results that show whether or not the booster is actually needed. Does it give an extended amount of time for the prevention of getting COVID,” said Gary Whittenton, a trial participant.

The trial comes at a time when the Delta variant of COVID-19 has become the most dominant version of the virus across the country. A variant that is now causing spikes in hospitalizations of people who never got vaccinated to begin with. Hill hopes the booster will increase her antibodies to further protect her from the Delta variant.

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“Hopefully they will see the booster increases the antibodies and because we have the Delta variant, and we want to make sure it’s going to fight and help eliminate what’s been a terrible pandemic,” Hill said.

In the coming weeks, the research center will start a trial for a Pfizer COVID booster shoot that is combined with the flu shot.

They will also start a trial involving a Pfizer booster shoot combined with medication for people who suffer from shingles.

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