SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - We first told you about a clinical trial happening right here in Savannah to bring a COVID-19 vaccine to the market last week.
Shortly after that our Dawn Baker signed up to help. She is sharing her story as the first patient in Phase Three of what could be a historical move.
For the past several months Dawn Baker has sat behind the desk here at WTOC bringing you the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic. Now she’s stepping out from behind that desk to be a part of the solution.
“This last five months have been really tough for me and I am sure it has been for everybody. Just kind of sitting around wondering when this is going to end and hearing about all the people who have been so incredibly sick including Lyndsey and also hearing about the large number of people who have died right here in America. We all sit around and we think that we’re helpless, we can’t do anything. We wear our masks, we stay away from people, but we really have seen that that’s not really enough. So I thought that it was an amazing opportunity to be a part of the solution. Who knows this might be it, that could save people’s lives and I think that it’s time for all of us to do our part,” said Dawn Baker.
She’s a person you’ve watched for years and trusted in the biggest moments. She once again stepped up to serve our community, only this time in a different way.
She’s the first person in the U.S. to get a shot in a Phase Three COVID-19 vaccine trial. Though she’s a part of history, that’s not why she did it.
“You know it may not ever benefit me, but you know other people are going to have children one day, there are young adults like you who we want to make sure that you have every chance you can to live to be a ripe old lady and see all your dreams come true.”
Dawn has known Dr. Bradley for years and after doing her research about the trial decided she wanted to help, knowing a vaccine is our ticket to normalcy again.
“I read all the documentation they sent me a lot of the paperwork to read, I signed a lot of agreements and they all said that the first two phases the most severe symptoms anybody had was cold like symptoms maybe a little light flu, nausea, fever. I can deal with that we could save lives, just by going through that little inconvenience.”
Getting the shot, whether placebo or vaccine, is just one step of this two-year long process for Dawn. She has to monitor her symptoms daily through an app and will have multiple in-person and phone call check-ups. She says despite the commitment, it’s worth it.
"I think it's really bigger than me, but what I hope people see is that we all are important and we all can be a part solving this."
Dawn says she’s thankful to the vaccine trial participants who signed up before her and for those who will still sign up. After all she knows, we’re all in this together.
Dr. Paul Bradley with Meridian Clinical Research says this could be the most important clinical trial ever.
He also says this is a two year trial but they hope to see results by the end of the year.
“In our lifetime this may be the most important clinical trial ever. It is very much like when our parents went and took the polio vaccine. This virus has got to be put in its place,” said Dr. Bradley.
Principal Investigator for Meridian Research Dr. Paul Bradley says it’s important to get a vaccine out because social distancing and masks only go so far.
“We’re not going to be able to go back to life as we know it until we have a vaccine. We’ll continue to come up with treatments and different medications that will hopefully help, but we need to stop the attack and the only way to stop the attack is going to be a vaccine,” said Dr. Bradley.
Dr. Bradley says in phase one and two they were looking for volunteers with no medical problems or risk of exposure to the virus.
However this time around, they’re looking for something different.
“We want people who are out and about in the community. That could be healthcare workers, that could be grocery store workers, people who work at the store, people that are around others who have unfortunately a chance of catching COVID,” said Dr. Bradley.
Half of the participants will get the real vaccine and half will get a placebo. He says after beginning this trial just months ago it feels amazing to get to this day.
It’s important to note that this is not a live virus. Dr. Bradley also says they are still looking for volunteers.