By Conor McCue

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver police officers are among the 217 participants of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine trial at UCHealth. Moderna, whose vaccine is currently in phase 3 of a clinical trial, may seek emergency approval from the federal government as soon as next week.

(credit: CBS)

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The company has said its vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data.

“I’ve had the two shots, and then did the bloodwork and follow-up questions,” said District 6 Commander Aaron Sanchez.

Sanchez and Deputy Chief Barb Archer are redefining the idea of “protect and serve.” When Chief Paul Pazen reached out to all DPD employees earlier this year about volunteering for the Moderna trial at UCHealth, the two veterans of the department were among the 144 people who showed interest.

“I thought it was a great opportunity to contribute to the wellbeing of the greater good than just me. our immediate community, even our worldwide community,” said Chief Archer.

(credit: CBS)

Archer and Sanchez are now among 18 officers, including Chief Paul Pazen, who are enrolled in the trial. It involves two shots, diary entries, follow up exams, and COVID-19 tests.

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“It’s not just rolling up your sleeve and getting the injection,” said Dr. Thomas Campbell, Chief Clinical Research Officer at UCHealth.

Campbell runs the trial for UCHealth and says the Denver officers’ jobs, as well as diverse backgrounds and ages make them good candidates.

“We wanted to enroll participants who because of their work, their occupation, where they live, they were at increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 exposure,” Campbell said.

“Working downtown as the commander of District 6 really puts us at the hub and the heart of the issues with COVID,” Sanchez said.

(credit: CBS)

Joining the trial could prove beneficial in that sense for the officers, but Sanchez and Archer said volunteering was about leading by example.

“To show our community internal and external that that we care, and we want to be a part of the solutions,” Archer said.

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While Archer said her arm was a bit sore after the shots, neither has experienced any serious side effects. According to a department spokesperson, Pazen has said that of the participating officers he has spoken with, any reported side effects have been minor.

Conor McCue