KING COUNTY, Wash. - It has been a full year since the first group of local Moderna vaccine trial participants rolled up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine in Seattle.
Now many of them are signed up to lend themselves to science again, but this time in the booster trial.
Neal Browning is a network engineer for Microsoft and lives in Bothell. He received his third booster shot in March.
Browning said his first two doses in last year’s trial were only a quarter of the current full dose, but his third shot was a full dose. He experienced similar symptoms as those receiving their second full shot
"I was actually very happy about the response because it meant that my body was still very much aware of what the vaccine was and responding to it very aggressively," said Browning.
Moderna is now in a Phase Two study to evaluate three approaches to boosting. This week the CEO said he believes a booster will be available to the public by this fall.
Browning said some participants of the booster trial receive a variant mix in their dose to see its effectiveness against the South African variant.
"Every opportunity this virus jumps from one person to another is an opportunity for a mutation to happen," said Browning. "We’re only one drastic mutation away from it negating all the work we’ve done."
As part of this second study, Browning will continue to do blood draws over the course of several months.
"To see how my body is ramping up antibody production, that my body isn’t having any adverse reaction to having a third booster, a third shot as a booster, a year later," said Browning.
This month the New England Journal of Medicine published new data on the vaccine efficacy six months after two doses and concluded the Moderna vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.
"My hope is that, honestly, we don’t need the boosters and we don’t need the variant shots that we can get this under control globally," said Browning.
Moderna said its teen study is fully enrolled with three thousand participants ages 12 to 17 in the U.S. The company is also currently enrolling participants six months to 11-years-old as part of its kid study.
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