What It Was Like To Participate In The AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

By Steve Goldstein
Published: Monday, December 21, 2020 - 12:08pm
Updated: Monday, December 21, 2020 - 3:03pm

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regina villa vaccine
Katherine Davis-Young/KJZZ
Regina Villa, Valleywise Health ICU nurse manager, gets a coronavirus vaccine from Machrina Leach on Dec. 16, 2020. Villa was among the first in Arizona to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Maricopa County health care workers were among the first in the state to receive a COVID-19 vaccine last week. Regina Villa manages a COVID-19 unit at Valleywise Health, and she was one of them. 

While some in the general public say they don’t trust the vaccines that are now being distributed, many frontline medical personnel, like Villa, are relieved — and ready for the jab. 

This is what they have been waiting for: the first step out of this crisis. And it couldn’t come soon enough, not for the nurses Villa works with. 

Villa said she didn’t think twice about getting the vaccine. All of the questions about side effects or adverse reactions, they didn’t even cross her mind. Because the threat she needs protection from now is very clear. 

She hopes others will follow her example.

“I’m a normal person. Get the vaccine. It’ll help, you know. And if you truly don’t want to, be safe and wear your mask then — help us out. We need some help," Villa said. 

Villa and others like her were able to receive her Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine last week in part because of people like Liz Merchant. Merchant is participating in the AstraZeneca vaccine trial. 

The Show spoke to Merchant about why she volunteered to test the vaccine in the first place.

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