Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis looking for volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine trials

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Kaiser Permanente and the University of California, Davis Health are both taking part in the last phase of a COVID-19 vaccine trial.    

Well over a dozen COVID-19 vaccines are under development all over the world.

The vaccine developed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, in partnership with German genetics firm BioNTech, has already undergone smaller scale testing.

Phase three will use 30,000 participants worldwide, enough to identify any problems that might affect small specific groups. 

Volunteers will be targeted. 

“Individuals with a long list of underlying conditions as well as individuals who may be in high-risk workplace settings or perhaps who are in vulnerable populations,” explained Dr. Nicola Klein of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center.

Vaccine researchers are using a new approach to develop COVID-19 antibodies.

Instead of inserting inert pieces of the real virus, genetic instructions are introduced so that the body manufactures its own COVID virus components causing the immune system to activate.

Kaiser has done vaccine testing for 30 years, leveraging its research arm and its large patient base.

It will recruit 1,400 volunteers from its health plan from four West Coast sites including Sacramento.

Some will want access to any new vaccine as soon as possible , but half of the volunteers will get a placebo.

“A lot of people who generally volunteer for vaccine trials, clinical trials have a strong interest in being a part of scientific research and trying to contribute to science,” Klein explained.

Preliminary tests show there can be mild side effects like headaches, sore arms, fatigue and chills but those are signs that the immune system is working.

Subjects will be examined for antibody production, but the study will look who those who actually get COVID-19 through natural means.

“In their community, on the job or however they acquire the disease … we’re not giving them the virus,” Klein said.

Researchers will look at safety, immune response and effectiveness.

Normally vaccines are looked at for up to a year after a phase three trial.

This vaccine may be available sometime next year.

Those interested in taking part in the study must be from 18 to 85 years old.

Click or tap here for more information.

The study will be taking on volunteers through September.

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