KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Even as COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more widely available, Kansas Citians continue to help further the research.
For Kansas City resident and nurse practitioner Amy Warren, staying in a vaccine trial was a no-brainer.
"I did it because I want to get out and see my patients again," Warren said, "and I wanted to protect my mom who has been ill and I couldn’t be around her."
As a lover of all things science and health care, Warren volunteered for the Moderna Phase 2 trials in 2020. She received two half-doses of the vaccine during her trial through the Alliance for Multi-specialty Research. The trail was set to last until July 2021.
She was asked if she would be willing to be in a variant sub-trial and receive a third shot.
"I, of course, agreed and received my third third vaccine on February 12, I believe," Warren said, "and I started the whole process over, signed on for another year got a blood draw every week."
The booster trial research will be used by the National Institute of Health, according to Warren.
While having a third shot might sound tempting to some who might believe it'll offer even more protection against the virus, Warren said only those selected in the trials should receive third doses.
Warren's love for science and health care even inspired her husband, James, to volunteer for a Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial.
"I’m glad I was able to participate," James Warren said. "I’m glad I was able to get the vaccine, and I would encourage anybody if they had the opportunity to do this to do it."
Rachel Howard, a Lee's Summit resident and teacher, also received a third shot and will continue to participate in the Moderna sub-trial.
"I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nurse. I’m not out there fighting COVID myself," Howard said, "but I can do this, this is my contribution."
She has regular appointments and evaluations during the process.
"I find it’s kind of like my duty to go in and talk about what’s going on and let them do a blood draw or what not," Howard said, "and ironically I don’t like needles."
Both women are among a small group of people in the country who have received three vaccine doses, while also part of a larger group of vaccine trial participants from all over the world.
A Facebook group lets hundreds of participants discuss the trials together. Warren said the group of people have developed a special bond and are even planning upcoming trips together.
"It's been something I never would have come across had I not started this group," Warren said. "So it's been a bright spot in a really tough year."
Howard and the Warrens hope members of the public will see the safety vaccines provide and get one when it's their turn.
"If you can get vaccinated, it’s the most important thing you can do for yourself and your family," Warren said.