HONOLULU (KHON2) — Pfizer is testing another vaccine dose that is specifically targeted for omicron as medical experts continue to deal with the fast-spreading variant — and there is a chance to participate locally.
Experts at the East West Medical Research Institute (EWMRI) are helping with the study and while the clinical trial is geared for another dose to target omicron, they said its implications could go much further.
“I understand that we may be peaking here on omicron, but we’re still looking at thousands and thousands of new cases per day,” said EWMRI research manager Ron Ruuhak. “That’s the variant that is currently infecting everyone in the United States, so any mutations coming out of that will likely have some of the hallmarks of omicron.”
Spots are full for those who are already boosted but participants between 18 and 55 years old are still needed.
Participants who are unvaccinated will receive three doses of the omicron-targeted vaccine while those with two doses of Pfizer’s initial vaccine will either get one or two doses of the targeted version.
Honolulu resident Ryan Ozawa was one of the last boosted participants to join the trial and said it is not just about him.
“You know, I think that everybody is exhausted right now, but it’s still something that we need to do,” Ozawa said. “Most certainly my interest is it’s for the broader community.
Hilton Raethel with the Healthcare Association of Hawaii said the boosters currently available are effective in preventing severe illness and death from omicron, but it is still too early to tell how waning immunity will play a role.
“The goal would be to, if at all possible, to either have something that, a vaccine that or a booster that lasts approximately 12 months or potentially even longer, but it’s just too soon to know at this point in time.”Hilton Raethel, Healthcare Association of Hawaii executive director
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Click here to learn more about Pfizer’s COVID-19 omicron-targeted vaccine study.
Those enrolled in the study will be randomly assigned to received the vaccine or placebo.