5th company launches final stage test for COVID-19 vaccine, looking for volunteers in Tampa

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. — A fifth COVID-19 vaccine is in the works.

Novavex is launching a phase three trial of their vaccine in the U.S, and they’re looking to Tampa Bay health leaders for help.

USF Health and Tampa General Hospital were selected for the testing. They’re hoping to give out shots as early as next week and complete the entire study in the next two to three months.

It’s going to take major help from the community to test Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine.

“In Tampa, we are looking for 250 volunteers,” said Dr. Carina Rodriguez of USF Health. “We’re looking at a diverse population, so we’re looking to include African Americans, Latinos… people that are actually at risk either because of personal medical conditions such as people that have obesity cardiovascular issues and diabetes.”

They’re also looking for people over the age of 65.

Rodriguez said the vaccine requires two different shots given three weeks apart. Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Novavex can be distributed in standard refrigeration.

“It’s more easily stored at clinics and regular vaccination locations. It’s a more traditional vaccine.”

Even if you do take the vaccine, Rodriguez said it’s not a quick fix to eliminating the virus.

“It does take time for your immune system to create an immune response, so people won’t have instant immunity to the virus. Even if you are vaccinated, we don’t know how long the immunity will last.”

Once the study is done, Novavax is hoping to get the greenlight to distribute the vaccine to the public sometime this spring.

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