Local woman taking part in Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial encourages others to get vaccinated once they can

BOSTON — Scientists in Cambridge and throughout the country have been working around the clock to come up with a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

For one local woman, she says that when she noticed the death rate in her own community keep rising, she had to do something about it.

Gina Plata-Nino, who is Latina, said she wanted to be part of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial so her community could feel safe.

The rates of COVID-19 are among the highest in the nation between Latino and Black communities.

“I thought it was time to be an example and lead,” said Plata-Nino.

Plata-Nino is leading by example for so many people.

Nino, who is in her mid-30a, works as a lawyer in Worcester is a part of the COVID-19 health equity task force for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial at UMass Memorial Hospital.

“Seeing what’s going on around the community, especially within the Latino community, how they have been affected so much more,” Plata-Nino explains what motivated her to join the trial.

Worcester has been a high-risk zone for spreading COVID-19 for months,

“Speaking to some people in our community, hearing them say, I lost 4 people,” said Plata-Nino.

With the support of her husband, family and friends.

“He was like, as long as you aren’t going to die, there is no terrible consequences, let’s track it,” said Plata-Nino.

In September, she went in for her first shot.

“They schedule a plethora of tests, the COVID tests, blood exam," said Plata-Nino. “They de-frothed the vaccine, they put it in your arm.”

Then she had to go back for the second shot in October. Through an app, Plata-Nino gets monitored daily..

“Every day it asks you, do you have a back ache? A fever? All of these questions are interesting,” said Plata-Nino.

While she says, she’s healthy, and works out, she admits feeling paranoid at times after getting vaccinated.

“I work from home, of course I will have a backache," said Plata-Nino. “I’m sitting all day. I was deafferenting a regular backache. Totally scared. I did it because I have a great support system.”

Nino wanted to get the word out there about the work that is being done to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. She says she feels fine, and is happy to be a part of this vaccine trial.

Plata-Nino says once the vaccine comes out, she hopes her community will get vaccinated.

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