COVID-19 vaccine trials in need of thousands of volunteers

Coronavirus clinical vaccine trials have started across the country.

In Central Florida, thousands more participants are needed.

The Accel Research Site in DeLand is running the area’s clinical vaccine trial for biotech company Moderna.

Enrollment has been steady but many more volunteers are still needed.

The research site already enrolled about 300 participants, but they still need about another 1,700 more.

“We need to keep enrolling and meet those numbers,” said Dr. Bruce Rankin, director of Accel Research Sites DeLand.

Dr. Rankin believes people may be afraid to sign-up.

“A lot of people still worry that they can get sick with the virus, so they’ll get COVID-19 from the vaccine, which is really not possible and they’re maybe worried about time. We’ll work with your time,” Dr. Rankin said.

The research site is aiming for 2,000 participants that will contribute to the nationwide study of 30,000.

“You have to have enough there to get the data you need statistically to see if the vaccine is better than no vaccine. That information is going to be vital and the only way to do that is get a certain amount of people to participate,” Dr. Rankin said.

If people don’t volunteer, the trial could be delayed, delaying the potential approval of a vaccine.

“The study is only empowered when you get to those numbers,” Dr. Rankin said.

Dr. Rankin explained that the process is strict and purposely lengthy for the safety of the public, which is why news that Russia already has approved a vaccine concerns him.

“For them to have one already available or something available, I don’t know anything, details about the study. I know how studies are run in our country and there’s a lot of things that go in, are checked, so you always worry about safety, how safe is something, especially when it comes out very quickly, and then does it work?” Dr. Rankin said.

The vaccine trial happening in DeLand is just one of many happening across the country.

If you’re interested in volunteering, click here.