Moderna COVID-19 vaccine volunteer loses a friend to the virus

Coronavirus

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – We could be getting closer to a potential vaccine for COVID-19.

Moderna representatives say the company’s phase-3 trials show its vaccine is around 94 percent effective.

Shelley Stutchman is one of Moderna’s volunteers for the Oklahoma City phase-3 trial. She says the vaccine has given her a sense of security in these uncertain times.

“It’s a feeling of freedom that’s hard to describe,” Shelley told KFOR.

For Shelley, the decision to volunteer was easy after her 10-year-old granddaughter told her she was afraid to hug her because she didn’t want to make her die. Then last week, Shelley got another reminder of why finding a vaccine is so important.

“I was talking to a friend and it ended in one of those belly laughs where you cry tears,” Shelley said. “A few days later she tested positive for COVID. She had to go to the hospital where she was put on ventilators and ICU.”

On Monday, Shelley says her friend died from the virus. Shelley says if the vaccine was already available, her friend might still be alive.

Dr. Carl Griffin is the lead investigator of Moderna’s trial in Oklahoma City. He says he was blown away when he found out the vaccine was 94 percent effective. He also thinks the vaccine could be ready for widespread use sooner rather than later.

“This is me. It’s not the company, and you have to remember there’s another 99 sites around the US doing the vaccine study, so I’m one of 100,” Dr. Griffin said. “We’re looking at probably March or April, at the latest, for a vaccine to be available or approved.”

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