Beach Man Lost 7 Family Members Becomes ‘First American’ In Oxford Vaccine Trial

A Boynton Beach man who lost seven loved ones to coronavirus has become the first American dosed with Oxford University and AstraZeneca’s vaccine as part of their clinical trial last weekend.

“I think when they told me you’re the first in America. I was like, ‘Oh that’s funny.’ Then, I saw the number on the bracelet I had to wear, so that played in my mind all night,” Jacob Serrano said about the night before the study.

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The 23-year-old didn’t know what to expect when he arrived to do the study inside JEM Research Institute near JFK Medical Center Main Campus in Atlantis last Friday.

He’s confident he was injected with the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine and not the placebo.

It’s a study he didn’t want to pass up, a mission he wanted to fulfill after losing cousins, aunts and uncles, a total of seven family members to the coronavirus.

“Each person that’s taken away from your life, it’s a big shift,” Serrano said.

After the injection, Serrano said he spent about two hours inside JEM Research Institute filling out surveys and answering questions about any side effects he was experiencing.

“A lot of tenderness. I guess compared to probably the worst workout of your life,” he said laughing. “I’ve had friends who asked me stupid questions like, ‘Did you get super powers?’ I was like, ‘No! I did not get that’.”

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He knew of the risks, but Serrano says it’s his way of being a part of the solution to save lives, no matter what it takes.

Researchers are looking into whether this vaccine is effective at preventing COVID-19 symptoms during this third and final phase.

“It’s great. We’re trying to move forward in history. We’re trying to save people. It’s an overall, good feeling,” Serrano said.

AstraZeneca researchers tested tens of thousands of volunteers overseas in places like the U.K. and South Africa, and are planning the same trials in Russia and Japan.

Dr. Larry Bush, the principal investigator to this Palm Beach County site, says he is hopeful.

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“In the phase one in two trials, the vaccine has been proven that not only do you get robust neutralizing antibodies to fight the coronavirus, you get a t-cell response, another arm of the immune system to fight off the cells that do become infected. That’s crucial in treating infections,” Dr. Bush said.

The pharmaceutical company is expecting to have the trial results from this last stage later this year.

AstraZeneca claims to have the capability of manufacturing two billion doses by summer of 2021.

The U.S. has reportedly already ordered 300 million doses.

The article is originally published at cbs 12 news.

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