Wilmington woman describes experience with COVID-19 vaccine trial

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Wilmington woman Dawn Byrnes describes her experience taking part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial. (Photo: Matt Bennett/WWAY/MGN)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The race is on to create a COVID-19 vaccine, and clinical trials are happening right here in the Cape Fear. WWAY spoke to one Wilmington woman who is participating.

Dawn Byrnes has worked in clinical research for more than 20 years but never as a patient. She says she wanted that experience and to do her part in helping science rid the world of this virus.

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“It’s very important for people to participate in clinical trials because that’s how they get the data to show the FDA that something does or does not work so we can get new drugs approved,” Byrnes said.

Byrnes is participating in a study at PMG Research in Wilmington sponsored by Pfizer. She had her first injection on Monday.

“Participating in a clinical research study isn’t scary, they give you information that you can ask questions and you can decide if it’s a good choice for you,” she said. “I had my first vaccine on Monday, here it is Wednesday and everything is just like normal.

Byrnes will have five more visits over the next two years so she can be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. She encourages others to participate, saying certain groups are sometimes underrepresented.

“They need people from all different walks of life to participate in these studies so they can know how it works in different people, males, females, age groups, all kinds of different ethnicities,” Byrnes said. “We need as much data as possible and we need a true representation of our population, not just one group of people.”

Kevin Cannon, medical director at PMG says there are multiple vaccine trials enrolling now through the winter. Those who participate are compensated.

Click here if you’re interested in participating.