Allen Fire Chief Participates in COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

Chief Jonathan Boyd doesn't know if he received the vaccine or a placebo last month

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There's been a setback in the race for a coronavirus vaccine.

Tuesday, AstraZeneca, one of three drug companies in phase three human trials, put its study on pause over a suspected adverse reaction from a participant.

It comes after an extraordinary pledge by drug company CEOs saying they wouldn't rush trials despite pressure from President Donald Trump.

In addition to finding a vaccine, another challenge could lie ahead: Finding people to get it.

A USA Today poll found two-thirds of Americans won't get the vaccine when it's first available.

Allen Fire Department Chief Jonathan Boyd is participating in a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Moderna.

On any day, his department of more than 100 firefighters and paramedics answers calls from potential coronavirus patients, so few are more driven to be done with the disease.

“My brothers here are firefighters, they've been diagnosed with it,” Boyd said.

From his family line to the front lines, Boyd sees the impact.

“Any of the fatalities that we have here are very personal to me because I want to try to do everything possible to try to prevent that,” he said.

It's a mission that's become even more personal.

On Aug. 25, Boyd received an injection of either the vaccine or a placebo at a research center in Dallas.

“There is risk involved but there was a couple hundred people that went before me that actually determined that the vaccine was safe,” Boyd said.

Boyd said he had a sore arm and fatigue after receiving the shot. He tracks his temperature and potential symptoms on an app.

He said he understands why some are hesitant to roll up their sleeves.

“People who are very worried about it and to the point where they say they're not going to get the vaccine, those are legitimate concerns because this is all very new,” Boyd said.

He said he could find out as early as October, or as late as two years from now, if he received the vaccine.

Regardless, he said he hoped sharing the process would change public perception about what could be a turning point in controlling the virus.

Boyd said he will get a second injection later this month.

He also emphasized the importance of getting a flu shot this year because the symptoms are so similar to the coronavirus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that it was "unlikely" that a coronavirus vaccine would be ready by the presidential election.

According to Fauci, a vaccine could be available by the end of the year. The CDC is still asking states to be ready to distribute the vaccine by Nov. 1.

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