Harry Rossiter, PhD
On a historic occasion this week at the Lundquist Institute in Torrance, CA, Jorge Vega, a Long Beach resident, became the first person to get vaccinated in the third phase of a research study on a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.
“I’m very excited to be the first patient in L.A. to get the vaccine,” Mr. Vega said. “And I’m doing this for me and for my community.”
The 62-year-old works as a server at the Long Beach Convention Center and said he has seen a lot of friends die after contracting the virus.
“The vaccine has been looked at in some early trials, and so far, it appears to be very well tolerated, seems to induce antibodies, which we were hoping for,” Dr. Eric Daar, lead investigator for the trial, said. “But now this is the big phase 3 trial, 30,000 people will be enrolled to demonstrate just how safe it truly is and whether it actually protects people from becoming ill.”
Researchers at the Lundquist Institute have been at the forefront of developing diagnostic tests and therapies for patients with chronic lung for over 50 years. PERF is a proud supporter of pulmonary research at the Lundquist Institute, which helps patients who have difficulties breathing difficulties or pulmonary disease. You too can help by volunteering to participate in a research study, donating to our programs or simply spreading the word by forwarding this blog post to those who you think might be interested.
Los Angeles is among the counties in the nation that are hardest-hit by COVID-19. And certain communities have been disproportionately impacted. The new vaccine trial is seeking to enroll adults who do have not had SARS-CoV-2 virus and who are at high risk of getting COVID-19 or suffering severe illness, including people with medical conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity or heart or lung disease), people of color or those aged over 60 years old. You can volunteer at any one of three locations in L.A., at The Lundquist Institute, at University of Southern California and the University of California Los Angeles.
“You cannot get COVID from this vaccine,” says Dr. Daar. “It’s simply not part of what we’re injecting people with, so that shouldn’t be a concern for people.”
Vega and the other volunteers in the trial will be followed for the next two years, allowing doctors to gather important safety information about the vaccine.