MSU graduate, mother of two volunteers in Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 8:11 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A vaccine made in Michigan will soon be rolled out around the world to protect billions of people from COVID-19. Pfizer in Kalamazoo has applied for emergency use authorization for the shot, which it says is 95% effective.

A graduate of Michigan State University is among thousands who rolled up their sleeves to help researchers make sure the vaccine is safe.

Marla Kaminsky is a stay-at-home mom who runs her own side business and is raising her two young sons.

She signed up for Pfizer’s Phase 3 Clinical Trial last summer. She got her first shot in August, and another one three weeks later.

“So I don’t have any idea really whether I got the placebo or the real thing, but what I do know is, after I had the first injection, I ran a low-grade fever, which I never would have known I had, except for the fact that I went to another doctor’s appointment and they took my temperature,” she said.

Along with the fever, Kaminsky suffered pain at the injection site.

“The arm pain lasted about three days, and, similar to like a tetanus shot or a flu shot, and the fever went away like five hours later and I was fine,” she said.

She’s among more than 38,000 people who got two shots in the clinical trial. Along with a monthly in-person or phone check, Kaminsky uses an app once a week to report any other symptoms.

Ann Emmerich: “Will you be eventually notified if you had the placebo or the real vaccine?”

Marla Kaminsky: “So this is the fun part that everybody is waiting for. We, a lot of times in these types of studies, you’re never told whether you’ve had the placebo or the vaccine. Because of obviously, the nature of COVID, as soon as any of these vaccines are mass produced and they start going into the population we will be un-blinded. So we will be told whether we had the placebo or the vaccine.”

Ann Emmerich: “So let’s say you had the placebo, will you get early access to the vaccine because you participated in the study?”

Marla Kaminsky: “You know that’s the million dollar question. I’ve heard yes, but I don’t know for sure.”

Kaminsky is anxiously waiting to see if she’s protected from COVID-19. The mother who risked her own safety to protect yours is now urging you to get the vaccine.

“To help get the world repaired so we can get back to normal and we can see our grandparents and hug our grandparents and our grandparents can love on their grandchildren again,” said Kaminsky.

Pfizer admits getting the vaccine out for distribution is challenging.

It must be stored at a temperature much lower than what standard freezers can produce so special freezers are needed to store it. The drug manufacturer has hundreds of thousands of doses ready to go in its freezer farm in Kalamazoo. Last week, it launched a pilot program for distribution in four states. Michigan is not one of them.

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