South Bend Clinic hosting Johnson and Johnson vaccine trial

NOW: South Bend Clinic hosting Johnson and Johnson vaccine trial


SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Johnson and Johnson announced it is working to be the third pharmaceutical company to roll out its own COVID-19 Vaccine. In doing so, it needed conduct trials to test the effectiveness of that vaccine. It chose 100 locations in the world to host those trials. One of them was the South Bend clinic. 100 volunteers rolled up their sleeves to get that one dose vaccine to complete its final trial before possible approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for rollout to the public.

"(It's nice) to be a part of hopefully, moving one step closer to normal, being able to see our family that we haven't been able to see in such a long time," said Anna McEachern, one of those 100 volunteers for the trial. "It would be nice to see some normalcy return."

Dr. James Harris is the medical director for the center for research at the South Bend Clinic and helped organize this trial. He said the vaccine was cutting edge.

"The urgency of getting this done is really critical," Harris said. "Only 100 sites in the world were selected for the study. So, we're very privileged to be a part of this study and have the opportunity to serve our patients and help the cause."

Harris said each volunteer got either the Johnson and Johnson vaccine or an injection of water or another harmless substance. The latter group got what he called the "placebo." The Clinic said it's in its second of two trials, and volunteers still didn't know which one they got.

"It's hard to be in that study and not think about 'was this the real deal or was it the placebo?' and how much of the mind plays into that," McEachern said. "That's probably it. It will be interesting to find out."

Harris said the first trial was already done and the results looked promising.

"It is the second Johnson and Johnson trial out there," Harris said. "The first one is completed and this data for that study is being presented to the FDA this week."

Harris said if the FDA approves the vaccine this week, it will be ready for rollout to the general population. He also said those volunteers still going through the second trial could continue it if they wish regardless of the FDA's decision.

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