‘Part of My Legacy': Why This Mass. Native Volunteered for Moderna's COVID Vaccine Trial

Vanzetta Evans does not know if she was given the coronavirus vaccine or a placebo but said she hasn't shown any symptoms

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Despite her fear of needles, Holliston native Vanzetta Evans decided to participate in a human trial of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine because she was troubled by the pandemic's disproportionate impact on people of color.

"Because I don't have any children, I said, 'This is part of my legacy -- that I'm helping to have this vaccine for COVID," Evans said. "You know, this is something that will be around forever."

Evans, who now lives in Atlanta, applied online to be among the trail's 30,000 participants. She received two shots over a period of two months.

Vanzetta Evans, a Holliston native, shared her experience as one of 30,000 participants in Moderna's coronavirus vaccine trail.

"The health issues African Americans, Latinos face with diabetes and high blood pressure makes them more vulnerable, more susceptible to COVID-19," Evans said, "So I had no problem doing what I had to do to help people out."

Moderna announced Monday that preliminary phase three trial data shows its coronavirus vaccine was more than 94% effective in preventing COVID-19. Pfizer and BioNTech announced last week that their own vaccine was more than 90% effective.

Evans went for a checkup Monday after learning of the latest trial data. She has another appointment in April. Evans does not know if she was given the vaccine or a placebo but said she hasn't shown any symptoms.

U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech say their coronavirus vaccine is more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19. In this study, protection from COVID-19 is achieved 28 days after the initial vaccination, which consists of a two-dose schedule.

The Cambridge-based company said 90 cases of COVID-19 were observed in the placebo group versus five cases observed in the group that received its two-dose vaccine. That resulted in an estimated vaccine efficacy of 94.5%, it said.

Moderna plans to seek emergency use authorization from the Federal Food and Drug Administration in the coming weeks. Roughly 20 million doses are ready to ship in the U.S. by the end of the year.

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