Omaha Research Clinic calls on participants in COVID-19 vaccine study

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – New vaccine development will be critical to the continued fight against COVID-19, according to researchers now looking for thousands of unvaccinated people to participate in clinical trials.

Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are becoming household names for vaccines, but more are to come.

“When we have something that is really good we will just move on, but we just don’t know. Since this is all new to us, it is best to keep looking for something new,” said Dr. Brandon Essink, Medical Director, Meridian Clinical Research. “In the event that something does not work or that it works better for the variants or if we have to improve a little later.”

So it’s about developing new COVID vaccines.

“If there is one that lasts longer, if there is one who has fewer side effects, if there is a vaccine that covers more variants, if the vaccine is better in this age group than in this age group,” said Dr. Essink. “There’s just a lot of science out there that we don’t know yet, so we need to keep pushing what’s out there.”

And that’s exactly what Meridian is trying to do by helping run studies for Canada-based Meticago to develop a COVID vaccine. “It’s a plant-based vaccine that shows promise because it may be a lot less allergic,” said Dr. Essink.

They are calling on people across the metro to step up and take part in the final stage of the process. These must be people who have not yet received the COVID vaccine and who have not been infected with the virus.

“It’s obviously getting tougher because a lot of people are doing a great job vaccinating. The number of people who have not been exposed makes it a little tougher for the products that are yet to be launched,” said Dr. Essink.

And since the vaccine is easier to get hold of, some incentives may also be lost, but not 46-year-old Kevin Hughes.

“Yes, I just had my first shot and my first visit today,” said Hughes, who is participating in one of several trials being conducted by Meridian. For privacy reasons, 6 News does not disclose which court hearing it is involved in.

“It started this morning, made an appointment and went to the facility, and it was pretty easy,” said Hughes, ditching the safest thing that could be a placebo shot. A decision he made mostly to help.

“There’s not much I can do,” said Hughes. “But getting a shot and telling people what happens or happens as a result of it is something I can do and they’ll pay a little for your time and anger.”

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HELP: If you would like to participate in a clinical trial, please visit the Meridian website for more information.

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