A Shot at Protection: South Florida woman takes part in COVID-19 vaccine trial

(WSVN) - We hear a lot about the efforts of front line workers in the fight against COVID, but there are others who are quietly helping in the background. Kevin Ozebek tells us some are volunteering their bodies to give us all a shot at protection.

She takes her temperature every day, but Erica Rodriguez Hylton isn’t sick. She’s recording her body’s reaction to a potential COVID vaccine candidate.

Erica Rodriguez Hylton, participant in vaccine trial: “I have to check myself, check my temperature, check the injection mark, and yeah, I mean, I just have to keep up with it. I have to call if I have any health problems.”

Erica is part of a vaccine clinical trial.

Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company teamed up with the German Company BioNTech to recruit volunteers between the ages of 18 to 85. Erica applied online and was selected to take part in the study.

Erica Rodriguez Hylton: “I was nervous. I was like, ‘Well, what if there’s side effects? What if it’s not safe?’ And, you know, the whole time I just had to remind myself, my friends, my family, everyone that I love, I’m doing this for them.”

Erica got her first vaccine injection on Aug. 8.

Erica Rodriguez Hylton: “It’s just like a quick pinch, and like afterwards, like for the first two days, I only had like a bit of a little bit of a headache and fatigue.”

Participants are paid for their efforts — $118 per injection.

After her first shot, Erica was given a device to measure any swelling or redness at the injection site on her arm.

She puts all observations into an app and sends in the information daily. Erica was also given a COVID test kit, just in case she starts to experience symptoms.

Erica Rodriguez Hylton: “It’s just like any other swab test that they’ve been doing at Walgreens or with public health. You call the lab, and they send somebody to come pick it up.”

Erica is one of some 30,000 people taking part in the vaccination trial at 120 locations around the world. Pfizer and BioNTech says the goal is “to bring a well-tolerated, highly effective vaccine to the market as quickly as possible.”

Erica says she feels good about doing her part to help.

Erica Rodriguez Hylton: “This whole pandemic has just been horrible, and I just think that we kind of have to just throw down our politics and just do what it takes to fight this thing because people are dying. I want people I love to be safe, so when it came down to it, that’s all, like, to think about, is other people.”

She goes for her second and final trial injection on Aug. 24 and will continue to do follow ups and report any possible side-effects.

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