By Kristina Rex

WORCESTER (CBS) – There has been a possible major breakthrough in the race for a coronavirus vaccine. The drug maker Pfizer said its vaccine is 90% effective and could be ready for approval in weeks.

“It’s exciting. It’s important for us to make sure this vaccine gets out there,” Gina Plata-Niño of Worcester told WBZ-TV. “Everyone is waiting for it.”

She’s one of more than 100 volunteers who participated in Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trial through UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester. More than 43,000 people participated worldwide.

On Monday, Pfizer announced its vaccine had a 90% effectiveness. The company is now undergoing safety testing and will file for emergency use authorization from the FDA in the coming weeks.

Plata-Niño does not know if she received the placebo injection or the actual vaccine, but says she never became infected with COVID-19. Pfizer reported that only 94 patients of the 43,000 became infected with the virus.

Plata-Niño told WBZ if the vaccine is approved by the FDA and distributed, she will then be able to learn whether or not she was actually administered the trial vaccine.

READ MORE: Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine Early Results Encouraging – So What’s Next?

An attorney from Worcester and member of the city’s Heath equity forum, Plata-Niño told WBZ she felt inspired to apply for the vaccine trial despite typically being medicine-averse. “I don’t even take painkillers and I hate needles,” she said. “But because of the work I was doing I thought it was important to sacrifice my sanity for a little bit.”

Local expert Dr. Ashish Jha told WBZ that if the Pfizer vaccine continues on this trajectory, it could be available to every day Americans by March.

Kristina Rex

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