Dr. Amy Santengelo, working at Womack Army Medical Center for nearly 20 years, has been actively looking to participate in a vaccine trial for COVID-19. Why? Because of her work, she is high-risk for exposure and wanted more protection for herself and for her family. As reported by The Fayetteville Observer, “She believes she hit the jackpot with a clinical trial being offered right here in Fayetteville. She not only signed up, so did her 18-year-old daughter.”
Reaching out to local authorities, such as Mayor Mitch Colvin with the city of Fayetteville and officials with Fayetteville State University, Santengelo intends to get the word out about the trial, especially to minority communities. She states, “I’m sure there are students out there that would be happy and willing and would fit the criteria to do this.”
Unlike some flu vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine does not use a dead or weakened form of the virus. It is instead a mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccine that targets what in photographs is the novel coronavirus’ most dramatic feature, the spikes.
For the trial, patients fill out an e-diary of how they are doing and will be followed up on for two years. Dr. Judith Borger with the Institute told ABC-11 in a recent interview that they are, in particular, looking for volunteers from at-risk groups, such as minorities, people with chronic conditions, and essential workers.
Why This is a Win-Win, According to Santangelo
Santangelo lists the following reasons for her claim, as described by The Fayetteville Observer:
- First, volunteers will participate in getting to market a vaccine that will help better contain COVID-19, which has infected 5 million Americans and killed more than 160,000. In Cumberland County, there were 3,798 reported cases and 61 deaths, according to data as of Friday afternoon at the county’s website.
- Two, the vaccine, provided the volunteer receives an active dose and not placebo, can help ward off the illness. That can be important for people in high-risk groups.
- Three, there is money involved; Santangelo says she will receive a total of just under $2,000 as reimbursement for her time. She was given a debit card with $180 on it after the first shot, she says.
While the money was not the important factor for her, she believes it might be a motivating factor for many people in these times of economic hardship and mass layoffs.
Call to Action: If you’re in the Fayetteville or Cumberland County community, consider looking into this Phase 3 clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine. As Santangelo says, “If we can rally together, we can potentially protect our community.”