KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the Kansas City metro -- and across the country -- on Monday. It was a day many deemed historic, and one that would not have been possible without the thousands of people who signed up to participate in vaccine trials.
“It’s one thing I could do, and it really didn’t take much for me," Meredith Orr said. "It was just a small sacrifice."
The 23-year-old signed up to participate in Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trial. She received her first shot in mid-August and her second shot three weeks later.
Orr still does not know if she was administered the COVID-19 vaccine or was given a placebo.
Like other vaccine trials, Pfizer’s is considered a blind-test. Neither the participants nor the nurses working directly with each participant know whether the person was administered the vaccine or a placebo.
“I didn’t have any side effects, which was great,” Orr said. “I don’t know what I got, but I am choosing to live like I got the placebo and make sure I am doing my part to keep myself and others safe regardless.”
Doctors warn even with a vaccine currently being administered, Americans need to continue to social distance and wear masks.
“A vaccine right now is not a substitute for the normal standard public health measures of wearing a mask, keeping your distance, avoiding congregate, crowded sections, and particularly indoors," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. "It's not a substitute. It complements it. Only when you get the level of infection in society so low that it's no longer a public health threat can you then think about the possibility of pulling back on public health measures."
Pfizer’s trial will last for two years, meaning Orr will continue to record how she feels. She has three more appointments scheduled at the clinic where the test is being conducted.
“I am not scared of getting the vaccine, obviously," she said. "I hope other people aren’t either because I think the more people that are able to get it and are committed to doing that is just going to help us all."