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MultiCare looking for 300 COVID-19 vaccine trial participants in Spokane area

MultiCare is one of 100 clinics and hospitals around the country participating in the Phase 3 clinical trial for the Novavax coronavirus vaccine.

SPOKANE, Wash. — MultiCare Health System announced Monday it has been selected to bring a COVID-19 vaccine Phase 3 clinical trial to the Inland Northwest.

According to a press release from a MultiCare spokesperson, residents can volunteer for the Novavax clinical trial beginning this weekend. 

The U.S. has authorized the emergency use of two vaccines so far, one made by Pfizer and BioNTech and the other by Moderna. 

The candidate made by Novavax Inc. is the fifth to reach final-stage testing in the U.S. Some 30,000 volunteers are needed to provide if the vaccine is effective and safe. 

Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca also have vaccine candidates in late-stage U.S. testing. 

MultiCare is one of 100 clinics and hospitals around the country participating in the trial, the press release says. They hope to enroll 300 participants in the clinical trial at the MultiCare Rockwood Clinic in Cheney.

RELATED: Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine to be studied in the US

The press release says the vaccine had shown promising results for increasing the body’s immune response to the COVID-19 virus.

“Finding effective vaccines is an essential strategy to stopping the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Jonathan Staben, the trial’s principal investigator and a Spokane primary care physician at MultiCare Rockwood Clinic, said in the press release. “As a community-based research center, we are delighted to be able to bring this phase three clinical trial opportunity to the Spokane region as the valuable research insights from this study will help inform next steps for this vaccine.

MultiCare is looking for a diverse group of participants, including people over the age of 65, people with underlying medical conditions and people in racial and ethnic groups disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

According to the press release, two out of three people participating in the trial will receive two injections of the vaccine spaced three weeks apart. The remaining third of participants will receive injections of a placebo made of saline solution, the press release says. Participants will randomly be selected to receive the vaccine or placebo. Their health and safety will then be monitored for 24 months after, according to MultiCare.

MultiCare doctors and researchers will hold a virtual town hall on Jan. 12 at 5:30 p.m. where people can ask questions and learn more about the trial. People can register online ahead of the event.