Lake County family taking part in COVID-19 vaccine trial

Pharmaceutical companies are seeking tens of thousands of volunteers for vaccine trials and a Central Florida family is taking part.

“I’ve been following the vaccines since March,” said Dr. Eric Poe.

Dr. Poe, a retired cardiologist from Lake County, didn’t just sign up for a vaccine trial himself, he made it a family affair.

“My son and daughter-in-law. I’ve got another son and his wife signed up,” Coe explained.

His girlfriend, Barbara Pauer is also part of the trial.

“I actually felt a little concerned,” Pauer said about the initial idea.

The 74-year-old is assuring his loved ones that getting the vaccine, even if it’s brand new, is the safer bet.

“The risk in the vaccine is a lot less than the risk of getting the virus,” Coe said.

A handful of pharmaceutical companies have entered clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci says they may know what ones work by the end of this year.

“We likely are going to have maybe tens of millions of doses in the early part of the year,” Fauci said.

Dr. Coe said he got his first shot over the weekend.

“Immediately afterwards, I didn’t feel anything. Probably three or four hours later I had a sore arm, a little bit of chills and I was a little tired,” he said.

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The process only took about an hour and he says it could have a big payoff. Like spending time with loved ones again.

“I’ve got grandchildren. I’ve got five kids and my children and my grandchildren are out and about and they’re significantly concerned that they might infect me,” Coe explained.

“We’re very hesitant about going to restaurants. I haven’t been to yoga in four months. There’s just lots of things that I’d like to get back to doing,” Pauer said.  

The family will go in for a second shot about a month after the first.

Half of the people in the trial are getting the vaccine, and half are receiving a placebo.

Dr. Coe says he feels confident he got the vaccine.