DES MOINES, Iowa — On Friday, drug maker Pfizer applied for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration. Another drug maker, AstraZeneca, started Phase 3 trials across the United States, including at The Iowa Clinic.
“To be chosen to be in this study was amazing. We’re the only site in Iowa here at our clinic and mainly it was because this is a high-risk area because of the number of COVID cases we have, so just for our population to be able to have a chance to get the vaccine and get it early,” Dr. Kathleen Jones, The Iowa Clinic’s principal investigator for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Study.
Dr. Jones said The Iowa Clinic is looking for around 900 people, 18 years or older, to participate in the trial. It is two shots, 30 days apart. Two-thirds of the patients get the vaccine and one third gets a placebo. Then the study follows the patients for two years. Dr. Jones said so far, the only side effects from getting this vaccine are similar to those you might get from a flu shot. She said The Iowa Clinic believes in this study so much that many of the medical staff are participating in it.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna studies announced within the past week have found their vaccines to be more than 90% effective. However, both vaccines have to be stored at a very cold temperature, while AstraZeneca’s vaccine does not.
“This vaccine doesn’t need to be stored at as low a temperature as the Pfizer vaccine, which makes it easier to distribute and get out to patients, and for clinics that don’t have access to those low temperature freezers,” Dr. Jones said.
Dr. Jones said there is a monetary incentive to participating in this study, but she could not give an exact dollar amount. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine study at The Iowa Clinic here.