SEATTLE - Western Washington has had a hand in fast-tracking a coronavirus vaccine.
Jennifer Haller of Seattle was the first one to roll up her sleeve and get injected in a vaccine trial on March 16.
“Hindsight is amazing,” said Haller. “Moderna announced that they are showing almost 95 percent efficacy in the vaccine. They’re going to be working to rolling it out in December to frontline workers.”
Neal Browning, a senior network engineer from Redmond, was up second in the first vaccine trial.
“They’ve shaved years off the process by using something brand new,” said Browning. “Messenger-RNA, which is basically what some viruses are made of, and viruses inherently the way that they function is they invade a cell, hijack it and take over your DNA to say stop being a regular human cell make more viruses. This works much the same way where it’s hijacking the cell for good.”
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech are also seeing highly effective results in its vaccine trial. The companies are expected to apply for an emergency use authorization for the vaccine Friday.
The Secretary of Health and Human Services said there could be about 40 million doses of two vaccines available by the end of next month. Frontline workers are expected to get the first round of vaccines.
As part of the vaccine trial, Browning and Haller participate in a 13-month blood draw with the final one in April, which is when health experts hope a vaccine becomes more widely available.
“There was 45 people in the very first trial, hundreds in the second trial and 30,000 in this last trial,” said Browning. “The reason I’m in it for a year after my second injection for a total of 13 months is to track my progress. They’re looking at enzymes in my blood.”
So far, the two local participants are sharing positive results with the experience and their physical well-being. However, make no mistake: the two of them have followed every Covid-19 guidance recommended by health officials. They’re urging folks to stay within their own bubble until the vaccine arrives.
“I have a secure job, I have a lot of resources around me, I have friends and family nearby there’s just have a lot of privilege in my life. This was a risk I was willing and able to take,” said Haller.
The Covid-19 vaccine is anticipated to be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration within the next month.