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New Mexico man travels to Colorado Springs to participate in COVID-19 vaccine trial

Moderna vaccine
Moderna vaccine
Published: Feb. 21, 2021 at 8:30 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - It will take time before everyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine can get one. A man from New Mexico is driving hundreds of miles to Colorado Springs just for a chance to get his sooner.

Byron Treaster, 77, is participating in a Moderna Phase 3 clinical study at the Lynn Institute of the Rockies.

“I guess my primary motivation was to protect me and my family,” said Byron Treaster. “But, I felt, ‘Gosh, I’m 77 years old, maybe being in a phase three trial would provide some meaningful data.’”

Treaster lives in New Mexico but drives eight hours round trip to participate in the trial. He has made the trip four times so far. The trial is two years, and more visits are scheduled ahead.

He says he got both of his shots this fall. Half of the group got a placebo, and the other half got the actual vaccine. Treaster believes he did get the vaccine based on his symptoms.

“Unless I am seriously psychosomatic, to me it was the real thing,” said Treaster.

Treaster says he felt slight headaches after his first shot. After the second, he felt some soreness. He says none of his symptoms were serious.

“My arm, naturally, where I got the shot was sore, but then my muscles on the other side of my body started getting sore.”

The CDC says side effects from COVID-19 vaccination are normal. They are signs that your body is building protection. Some of the most common side effects include fever, chills, tiredness and headache.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are called “mRNA vaccines.” The CDC says they teach cells how to make a protein — or even just a piece of a protein — that triggers an immune response inside our bodies.

You can read more about mRNA vaccines directly from the CDC here.

Treaster says he believes in the science, and he believes there is a positive payoff for his personal choice to participate in the trial.

“Remember, this isn’t just for us, it’s for everybody,” said Treaster. “I just think we have to do what little we can when we’re not scientists or physicians to try to bring our country out of this.”

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