HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) – A South Florida woman is sharing her story of participating in a COVID-19 vaccine trial as the vaccine is expected to arrive to the region sometime next month.
Mirna Benitez, 80, said she did not hesitate to sign up for a coronavirus vaccine trial, and she has no plans to slow down in the future.
“I got the vaccine and the flu shot. I’m ready to roll,” she said. “We are older, and I knew I had to be safe because I want to keep living. I go to the beach in the afternoon, be active, dancing, drinking.”
However, her afternoons soaking up the sun and active lifestyle were threatened earlier in the year when she and her husband contracted COVID-19.
“My husband was very sick,” Benitez said. “He got so scared. I took care of him, and after we got well, I said, ‘I’m going to the trial because this is worse.’”
The 80-year-old is one of 40,000 volunteers participating in Pfizer’s vaccine trial, a vaccine which has been said to be 95% effective. She said she found out about the trial through an advertisement on social media.
When she was asked if she was worried, Benitez said, “Nothing at all because I came from a family that were doctors, and they believe in medicine.”
With the expected rollout of the vaccine in the U.S. in the coming months, Benitez said Americans can expect to have several symptoms.
“Pains all over and sweating and going to the bathroom, but nothing like high fever, nothing like dry cough,” she said.
Benitez’s symptoms were documented daily in a digital journal, and she was not alone. Other volunteers reported flu-like symptoms and fatigue.
“I’m very happy,” she said. “I will tell everybody to take it. I spoke to several people, and my husband is ready to take it. He knows all my steps, and he thinks it’s very safe.”
Pfizer has requested for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.
An independent review board will meet on Dec. 10 to review the data and make a recommendation to the FDA.
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