Oklahoma woman participates in COVID-19 trial so she can hug her grandchildren again


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) โ€“ Sixty-five-year-old Shelley Stutchman is one of the 330 Oklahomans participating in phase three of a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine.

She says it wasn’t for the money, but because she wants to hug her grandchildren again.

โ€œMy 10-year-old granddaughter named Abby came up to visit. She said, ‘Grandma, I canโ€™t hug you because Iโ€™m afraid Iโ€™ll make you die,'” Shelley told sister station KFOR. “That broke my heart.โ€

So Shelley volunteered for the Moderna vaccine trial at the Lynn Health Science Institute. Despite her own son offering her $1,000 not to take part in the trial, she says she feels like this is something she was supposed to do.

โ€œMy mother had polio, and because of the polio vaccine she didnโ€™t have to worry about myself or my sister having polio,” Shelley said. “I donโ€™t want to have future generations (to) have to worry about having this devastating disease if we can get a vaccine out for it.โ€

It’s a blind study, meaning Shelley doesn’t know if she was given the actual vaccine or just a placebo. She received the first injection this week, and in 28 days she’ll go back for another dose. Throughout the trial she has to track any possible side effects.

โ€œTheyโ€™re looking to see if anybody gets an elevated temperature with their natural immune response … if they have any muscle aches and soreness,” said Dr. Carl Griffin, principle investigator on the trial. “Exactly how much swelling may be at the site of the injection.โ€

Shelley says that’s a small price to pay if it means a future where she doesn’t have to be physically distanced from her grandchildren.

โ€œItโ€™s a minor thing to maybe make a big difference,” Shelley said. “So, I feel lucky to get to help with that.โ€

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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