WTOC anchor receives second shot during COVID-19 vaccine trial

ByBlair Caldwell|August 24, 2020 at 5:20 PM EDT - Updated August 24 at 5:20 PM

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The push for a COVID-19 vaccine continues. It’s happening not only in Savannah, but with our very own Dawn Baker.

She was the first patient in the U.S. to get a shot in a phase three COVID-19 vaccine trial last month. Baker got her second shot for the COVID-19 vaccine trial on Monday.

“I really don’t know, of course, if I have the placebo or the real drug, but to me you know it’s part of the process, so it really doesn’t matter. I kind of think I did get the vaccine because I just had so much more energy this last month then I’ve had in a very long time,” Baker said.

Since her first dose a month ago, she says she’s felt fine. She, like other trail participants, haven’t shown any adverse effects according to the principal investigator for Meridian Clinical Research, Dr. Paul Bradley.

Dr. Bradley said the vaccine isn’t the live virus but a protein that reacts. He explains the first dose as a picture postcard of the enemy while the second is meant to make it clearer.

“This time the body will react most strongly we think and it will get all its ducks lined up and all of its armer menterior ready should this virus attack,” Dr. Bradley said.

Now that Baker has had her second shot in the phase three trial, she will continue to track her symptoms and check back with the doctor.

“I feel like even if I have a reaction, it’s OK. This is a part of the process and it is a part of us getting to a point where we have more of a normal life again,” Baker said.

Dr. Bradley says he is hopeful about this vaccine. Right now, Meridian has about 350 people enrolled in the trial locally, but they are still looking for participants especially African Americans and Latinos to ensure it works for everyone.

“Anything we can do to prevent it is key and vaccines prevent it. I mean wearing masks, social distancing absolutely helps, but a vaccine to prevent it has to be the key,” Dr. Bradley said.

Baker says she too is hopeful and grateful to be a part of something much bigger than herself.

“I feel very proud to be a part of this. I hope this is the answer and if it isn’t, this could be the vaccine that gets us on the way to the real vaccine that will get us our lives back, but something has to be done and I’m really proud to be a part, being a part of the solution,” Baker said.

While the trial will continue for the next two years, Dr. Bradley says they are hopeful to have the vaccine to the marketplace by 2021.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.

Photo: WTOC

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