Experts say approved vaccines could raise drop-out concerns for later trials

Posted at 6:40 PM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 19:40:27-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine is approved for public use, doctors say it's important to keep in mind multiple vaccines are needed to help end the pandemic as soon as possible.

Several trials are still underway for other COVID-19 vaccines. Those that begin later than others could face problems with having enough participants or participants dropping out to receive an approved vaccine when it's available to them.

Shawnee resident Brandon Kenig has been a participant in the Inovio phase one vaccine trials since the Spring.

Kenig is participating through the Alliance for Multispecialty Research in Kansas City, Missouri.

"When we were all on lockdown and quarantined at home I was looking for some type of way that I could be helpful and contribute," Kenig said.

The Inovio phase one trial consists of 48 participants. All of them received a vaccine.

Kenig said he will likely get the approved vaccine when it is available to him, which would require him to drop out of the trial.

"I believe that my vaccine is effective, but it still hasn't received final approval and it's not through phase three testing like these others are," Kenig said.

Kenig said participants are given the option to receive an approved vaccine if they choose.

"They discuss that with you and they understand too that part of the end goal is to get as many Americans vaccinated with whatever is available at the time," Kenig said.

Principal Investigator Dr. John Ervin said participant drop-outs could be harmful to the scientific data for trials that start later.

"I think hopefully since there are a number of these trials out there already that by the time the vaccines become available to those people not at risk that we will have come a long enough time that we can gather the data we need," Ervin said.

Ervin said it's up to the participant to decide if they want to drop out and receive an approved vaccine.

"There's a lot of things to take into account with the individual, but would I want them to stay in the study, I would leave that totally up to them," Ervin said. "If it were me and I got placebo and there was an approved vaccine available I would want to get the approved vaccine."

Ervin said it's crucial to have multiple vaccines available to help end the pandemic.

"We have 330 million people in our country, so we need 330 million doses of vaccine, possibly times two for those that have to require a second shot, and there's not any one company that can provide those vaccines," Ervin said.

Ervin said he can't say enough how important it is for everyone to receive an approved vaccine when it's available to them.

"This reluctance of about 40 percent of the population that say they don't want to get it, that's going to drag this thing way out," Ervin said.