Participant shares experience with Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial

Cornelius Henderson
Posted at 5:41 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 21:29:00-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — One of the participants of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine trial is sharing his experience so the public will feel confident in the process.

Clinical Research Associates is currently collecting data from multiple COVID-19 vaccine trials. Cornelius Henderson said he felt led by God to participate in the Pfizer one.

"You certainly want to see more African Americans who received the vaccine to see what difference does it make since the infection in our community has been quite high and the death rate has been quite high," Henderson said.

This week healthcare workers who took part were told whether they got the vaccine or a placebo injection. This means people like Dr. William Polk were able to find out he got the placebo, so as a healthcare worker he was able to get the vaccine this week.

Dr. Stephan Sharp is in charge of tracking data. For example, which participants are diagnosed with COVID-19, and which have side effects to the injection. Dr. Sharp said, "By and far it’s looked like other vaccine studies."

Contrary to popular belief, he said the side effects are good news. "That’s just the immune system kicking in to gear," Sharp said.

Henderson said he's only had arm pain and has not been sick so far. He’s had both injections, and is still wondering if he got the vaccine or not. "It happened both times where there was that ache in your arm where you got shot that last one has continued more a little bit of sensitivity," Henderson said.

Clinical Research Associates CEO and President Linda Schipani said volunteers are the real MVP's of the pandemic. "Because we feel like we are making an effect on the entire world," Schipani said.

As Clinical Research Associates signs contacts with other pharmaceutical companies, Schipani said they need folks to participate in upcoming vaccine trials.

Henderson said, "If we can make a difference in our families and the world why wouldn’t you."

Official approval of the Pfizer vaccine requires 6 months of data collection. Emergency use authorization is allowed after 2 months of data collection according to Dr. Sharp. This means Henderson will likely found out if he got the vaccine in March.

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