Georgia News Anchor Becomes First Person to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Shot in Phase 3 Trial

The Phase 3 trial is expected to recruit 30,000 volunteers who will receive two injections of either the vaccine or a placebo

Dawn Baker
Photo: WTOC/Twitter

A Georgia news anchor made history this week as the first volunteer to receive an injection in the Phase 3 trial of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Dawn Baker, a news anchor at CNN affiliate WTOC in Savannah, told CNN that she was a "little bit nervous" but "really excited" to have the injection on Monday as she hopes it will yield "really, really good results" in combatting the virus.

"This is really, to me, very empowering that I could be that person who could help save some lives. It's been very heartbreaking to hear about people who've lost their lives because of this," Baker said.

Baker is also the first Black woman volunteer to participate in the coronavirus vaccine trial.

According to the World Health Organization, there are at least 25 other COVID-19 vaccines being tested around the globe, five of which are in Phase 3 trials — the most advanced stage of testing.

The vaccine being tested was developed by biotech company Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and will be conducted at 89 research sites, the NIAID reported.

Along with Dawn, the trial will recruit 30,000 adult volunteers who will receive two 100 microgram injections of either the vaccine or a placebo to evaluate if the vaccine can prevent COVID-19.

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Dawn said that her injection was "painless" and she was not informed whether she was given the placebo or the vaccine.

Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci shared that this prospective vaccine is being developed at a speed like never before.

It's "the fastest from the time a virus, a pathogen, was identified to the time it actually goes into a Phase 3 trial, literally in the history of vaccinology in the United States at least, and maybe even throughout the world," he explained during an NIH event on Facebook Live on Monday.

In mid-July, early test results from Phase 1 of the trial reflected potential success, with Fauci calling the trial "very good news."

According to the National Institutes of Health, the vaccine, mRNA-1273, was "generally well tolerated and prompted neutralizing antibody activity in healthy adults."

The vaccine is "designed to induce neutralizing antibodies directed at a portion of the coronavirus 'spike' protein, which the virus uses to bind to and enter human cells," according to a press release.

Phase 2 of the trials began in May, with the third round set to continue into the fall. "We’re going to start the Phase 3 trial in the third or fourth week of July. That is going to take place over the rest of the summer and into the fall. If all goes well and there aren’t any unanticipated bumps in the road, hopefully, we should know whether the vaccine is safe and effective by the end of this calendar year, or the beginning of 2021," Fauci told InStyle.

As of July 30, there have been more than 4.4 million cases of the coronavirus and at least 151,194 deaths, according to recent data from the New York Times.

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