Oklahoma participant in Pfizer vaccine trial shares his experience

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NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – In the race for a COVID-19 vaccine, many Oklahomans are doing their part, including one Oklahoman who is sharing his experience as a participant in the Pfizer trial in Norman.

Michale Neel and his parents were three of about 300 participants in the trial run out of Norman location of The Lynn Institute.

“I selected Pfizer because of the RNA vaccine,” Neel said. “I felt like with the new technology that was the best option for myself and my family.”

He said he actually sought it out, hoping he and his family would be injected with the actual vaccine rather than the placebo.

“They’ve been sheltering in place since about March. They’ve been very, very careful- always wearing masks,” Neel said. “They should be commended for their efforts and I think this is the least I could do to help them.”

Neel feels confident they did get the vaccine, testing positive for antibodies, and experiencing the minor symptoms they were expecting.

“To be honest with you, it fell like a slight hangover,” he said. “The way my family and I look at it is a headache, fatigue, and soreness are considerably better than being in a hospital.”

Researchers testing the vaccine said it will be critical for 55% to 60% of people to get the vaccine to achieve herd immunity.

While Neel understands why some may fear a new vaccine, he and his parents trust the science. He said he feels very lucky and relieved to be protected.

“It’s definitely very exciting and hopefully we can get back to normalcy in the near future,” he said.

Pfizer officials said the vaccine is safe and 95% effective. It is one of the vaccines on track to be approved for use on an emergency basis before the end of the year.

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