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San Antonio native says he’s proud to be part of promising COVID-19 vaccine trial

Brandon Benavides says he participated to help communities of color

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio native says he is proud to be a part of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial to help others in the community.

The pharmaceutical company announced Monday that its vaccine has a 94.5% efficacy rate against the virus.

Trial participant and former KSAT 12 executive producer Brandon Benavides said he chose to be a part of the trial out of an interest in helping his own family here and communities all over the world disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“One of my friends told me, ‘You’re doing this for humanity. This is bigger than you.’ And that was the first time I realized that,” Benavides said. “The researchers were looking for minorities -- Blacks, Hispanics, Latinos -- to be part of the study. So when I heard that, then I started reaching out .”

Benavides, who now resides in the Washington DC area, applied for three different trials and was chosen for the Moderna trial.

Knowing the Moderna vaccine is currently showing to be 94.5% effective, Benavides said he’s happy to be “a Guinee pig,” as he put it, especially if it could help those impacted most.

“I wanted to help the community -- the Black, Hispanic community,” Benavides said.

What does COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness mean?

Researchers conducting the Moderna trial in the San Antonio area say the pharmaceutical company’s recent results show promise.

“Statistics right now will change as they get more information, as they follow through a little bit more. But it’s still a good sign. I think it’s exciting,” said Dr. Douglas Denham, chief medical director of Clinical Trials of Texas.

Benavides received his second injection 28 days after the first dose. Aside from mild common vaccine reactions, such as a slight headache and a cold sweat, he says lending his body to science for two years to complete the trial is well worth it.

“It’s bigger than me,” Benavides said.

The Moderna vaccine still needs to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

With the pandemic raging throughout the country, Denham said the most vulnerable populations -- such as the elderly, first responders and other essential workers -- could begin to receive the Moderna vaccine or one like it by early 2021.


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