LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) — More than 1,000 Coloradans will have the opportunity to be among the first recipients of a new COVID-19 vaccine. The phase three clinics trial will test the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine through UCHealth in northern Colorado.
Ideal participants in the AstraZeneca vaccination trial will be essential workers like teachers, first responders, grocery and health care workers. Some trial participants have already been identified and selected.
“I was the first one,” said Carrie Hintzman, the first volunteer for UCHealth’s trial. “It may not be for everyone, but for me it was a no-brainer.”
In an exclusive interview with CBS4’s Dillon Thomas, Hintzman said she had no second thoughts about signing up for the vaccination trial.
A total of 1,500 people will be selected, some will be given a placebo.
The trial will take place out of Loveland. However, participants are not required to be Northern Colorado residents. They must be willing to commute to the trial facilities in northern Colorado throughout the process, though.
Two-thirds of participants will be given the vaccination, while the other third will be given a placebo. Hintzman, and the researchers who are overseeing the immediate application and oversight of the trial, do not know which injections are true vaccines.
Hintzman said the process was not difficult. She had to fill out paperwork, participate in a COVID-19 test, a blood draw and was then given the injection.
“This will give us a large group of people who will receive the vaccine – or a placebo vaccine – to see if it’s truly effective over a few weeks, a few months and up to two years,” said Dr. Gary Luckasen, the principal investigator of the trial and medical director of UCHealth’s clinical research program in Northern Colorado via written statement. “The size of the group is of major importance because we can get a lot of information about the virus, the vaccine and how they interact.”
UCHealth said the AstraZeneca vaccine has previously shown an ability to spark a COVID-19 antibody reaction in humans.
Unlike other vaccinations, the AstraZeneca vaccine is an adenovirus. It combines an active cold virus with a protein that is found outside of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
“It is pretty imperative to stop this from progressing,” said Luckasen. “No significant abnormalities from the vaccine have been identified.”
Hintzman has an 84-year-old mother and a sister who relies on assisted living. She said she was tired of not being in physical contact with those she loves, and hopes her participation in the trial will help expedite a safe vaccine for public use.
“I want things to go back to normal. I am tired of people dying. I’m tired of my friend who own small businesses having hat threat of being shut down,” Hintzman said. “Let’s do this. Let’s get this under control. Maybe it will help the whole world.”
This is the second time UCHealth has been selected for a COVID vaccine trial In recent months, the first focused on the Moderna vaccine and was tested through the UCHealth Anschutz campus.