Kansas City doctor who oversaw clinical trials stresses importance of COVID-19 vaccine | Coronavirus

Leslie Aguilar

(KCTV) — Kansas and Missouri are both about a week away from getting thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

The Center for Pharmaceutical Research in Overland Park conducted clinical trials for the Moderna vaccine.

The center has overseen about 800 clinical trials for various vaccines over the years. Dr. John Ervin believes the recent ones for COVID-19 are the most important.

“I feel privileged to be involved with this,” Ervin said.

The Center for Pharmaceutical Research started trials for Inovio and Moderna early in 2020.

Ervin says there haven’t been any serious side effects for either vaccine.

“The side effects that we’ve seen are basically very similar to the what we’ve seen with a flu shot. We haven’t seen anything today as far as serious side effects or really unexpected side effects,” he said.

Ervin is encouraged by the effectiveness of the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. He expects more companies to have success as well.

At the very beginning of the pandemic there were fears that COVID-19 would be a mutating virus, luckily it hasn’t so far. That’s why so many companies are able to find different ways of creating effective vaccines.

Ervin says people can trust the process that ensures only safe ones will be made available to the public.

“It’s an ignorance and it’s a selfishness both, on most people who say that I’m not taking it,” he said.

Ellie Lilly and her sister, Heather, are volunteers for Inovio’s phase one clinical trial. It consists of 20 people with no placebos, meaning all 20 people being studied received the vaccine.

“I did not have side effects. Heather did not have side effects,” Lilly said.

The sisters got their first round of shots back in April and a second round four weeks later. They both believe the vaccine has shielded them from contracting COVID-19.

“Heather was exposed twice and I was exposed twice and we have not tested positive for Covid yet,” Lilly said.

One of Lilly’s exposures to the virus lasted three hours, as she sat in a salon chair. The stylist was unknowingly positive for the virus. Both were wearing masks.

Participating in the clinical trial means 14 appointments to get blood and urine samples taken for study. Of the ten appointments the sisters have had so far, everything seems normal.

Lilly is a 7th grade history teacher and having the vaccine gave her piece of mind going back to school.

She also feels she’s making history herself by getting involved in the research to hopefully ends the pandemic.

“I’m hoping that my small little contribution will be positive in someway,” she said.

Dr. Ervin says at least 70% of population needs to take the vaccine in order to achieve herd immunity and the world to return to normal.

“I don’t understand the 40% that say they won’t take the vaccine because they’re worried about side effects. Side effects of COVID are death or prolonged hospitalization or long-term pulmonary effects,” he said.

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