Kansas COVID-19 vaccine trial participant shares his journey

Local News

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNT) – Researchers across the country are conducting clinical trials for leading coronavirus vaccines.  

After losing a close friend to the virus, Len Hudson, a 73-year-old man from Augusta, decided to join a local vaccine trial in June. 

“This was somebody I met in high school,” Hudson shared, as he reminisced about his friend, Bob Stueven, who passed in May after contracting the virus. “We played football together… we did all kinds of stuff together. Start losing people like that, it gets kind of serious really quick.” 

Stueven died at 73, and at that point, Hudson’s perception of the virus changed.  

Hudson said he knew he had to make his community a safer place. 

“We gotta do whatever we need to do, individually, to get through this and past this,” Hudson said. 

Hudson entered a clinical trial at the Alliance for Multispecialty Research (AMR) in Wichita, one of two local centers registered for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine phase 3 trials. 

Moderna’s trials are underway, while Pfizer is seeking FDA approval after reporting their vaccine as 95% effective in a final analysis of their phase 3 trials.  

Researchers at AMR are conducting clinical trials with thousands of participants, and although some may be apprehensive about the process, researchers say their top priorities are accuracy and safety. 

Researcher at AMR Wichita-East gives tour of facility

The tests are run as double-blind placebo trials, which means half of the group receives a placebo, while the other half gets the vaccine. No one will know whether they got the vaccine or not until the end of the trial.  

All volunteers are required to maintain health protocols, like social distancing and wearing masks when needed. Researchers say it’s one of the main ways they ensure safety. 

“I believe that most people want to be healthy,” said Dr. Terry Klein, a researcher at AMR Wichita-East, as he explained the necessity of having safety procedures in place. “I believe that most people think that a vaccine is a path toward being healthy.” 

 For Hudson, that’s his main goal: health and safety for his family and community.  

“Hopefully someone out there will get a shot that would’ve otherwise died. There’s nothing greater than saving a life,” Hudson said.  

Hudson hopes to save more lives through helping researchers and scientists on the road to finding a vaccine.  

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