Only on 2: Local woman participates in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – As the charge for a COVID-19 vaccine to be made available to the public moves forward, clinical trials for the vaccine are still underway.

One Charleston woman is participating in AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial and spoke with News 2 exclusively about her experience.

Out of 30,000 Americans expected to participate in the trial, Sundi Herring is just one. She says a lot of thought and research went into her decision to be a part of the trial, but she believes in the power of vaccines and decided to go ahead with the process.

“I have the opportunity to be of service in this way and I wanted to take advantage of that to be a part of the future,” explained Herring.

Herring’s love of and interest in science partially stems from her work for the American Cancer Society in Charleston. She’s worked for the organization for nearly two decades.

“I’ve seen how those advances have made huge impacts on the cancer patients that I’ve worked with and I know that that’s really our only way out of this,” she said.

Herring enrolled in AstraZeneca’s clinical trial in October and has already received both of the doses required.

“They asked me to come in the next week for a physical and blood work and a COVID test and then I got my first dose… actually at that visit,” said Herring.

The trial is double-blinded meaning neither the vaccine administrators nor the patients know if the injection contains a true dose of the vaccine or the placebo. However, Herring has experienced some side-effects consistent with her receiving the vaccine.

“I was a little achy. I was tired that night. I woke up in the middle of the night with a little low-grade fever but I took Tylenol and I was fine. The fever went down immediately and I woke up feeling like myself,” said Herring.

The doses came about a month apart. Some minor side effects showed up after the first injection.

After the second injection, Herring experienced the same low-grade fever but was ultimately doing well.

Once an official vaccine is ready for the public, the test will be unblinded and participants will find out for sure which they received.

As of Monday, Herring was on day 57 of the trial.

“My next blood draw is at day eighty. So I have a little time,” said Herring. “I’ve felt honored to be a part of this clinical trial. And hopefully, make a difference in all of our lives.”

The estimated primary completion date for the trial is in March of 2021, but participants will be followed for the next two years until around February of 2023.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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