SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Positive news continues on a COVID-19 vaccine. Two companies have reported about 95% efficacy rates.
A lot of the foundational work for the vaccine trials happened right here in the Hostess City with Meridian Clinical Research.
Dr. Paul Bradley their chief investigator says it was a fantastic process and opportunity. He says the news of both Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccine is a much needed boost.
“A relief. Right now it’s like alright we got to keep dodging those bullets that are still coming, but at least we know something is coming because it was pretty bleak,” said Dr. Paul Bradley, Chief Investigator for Meridian Clinical Research. “I mean all summer long it wasn’t as bad as far as the number of patients coming in, but what we had to offer was so little and now that we know that we actually have the ability now to stop this thing, it’s fantastic.”
With two major companies Pfizer and Moderna announcing their vaccines are nearly 95% effective and safe it’s expected they will seek FDA approval quickly. Both vaccines were in clinical trials with thousands of Americans, hundreds of them here in Savannah. Dr. Bradley says he’s hopeful this positive news will help build trust for the vaccine.
“What we heard could not have been better news and the naysayers, and there’s a lot of them, I am thrilled to say they really didn’t get anything to grab hold of,” said Bradley. “We heard efficacy, we heard safety and that’s a home run.”
After so much success the research will continue. Meridian is now enrolling new patients into additional COVID-19 vaccine trials here in Savannah.
“There are a lot more companies still working on a vaccine,” explained Dr. Paul Bradley. “There’s going to be a lot of different versions out there still coming. We could even see a pill version, we could even see a nose spray version so most people are not going to be able to get a vaccine anytime soon and probably not well into next year so we’re still recruiting. We still need people in the clinical trials and Savannah really stepped up for these trials.”
Dr. Bradley says the more vaccine options the better, which is why they are continuing their research. If you are interested in signing up for the phase three trials you can do so online at mcrmed.com/covid or call Meridian at (912) 623-2240.
As we look forward to FDA approval Dr. Bradley says the government has helped company’s prepare millions of doses of the vaccine for rollout.
Local officials at the Coastal Health District say they don’t have a lot of information on the distribution, but do expect it sooner than later for certain segments of the population.
“I am very hopeful that we will be beginning to offer vaccinations to what I anticipate would be healthcare providers, first responders and those at really high risk before the end of the year so sometime in December,” explained Dr. Lawton Davis, Director of the Costal Health District.
Dr. Davis says there are several places that have signed up to distribute the vaccine when it’s ready, but public health is planning to do drive-thru events when they have enough doses for the public.