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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

MultiCare looks for Washington volunteers for COVID-19 booster trial

Michelle Chester, director of employee health services at Northwell Health, prepares the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Valley Stream hospital on Dec. 21 in Valley Stream, N.Y.  (Associated Press)

OLYMPIA – MultiCare Health System is looking for volunteers to take part in a clinical trial involving Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine boosters.

The trial will give participants one booster dose of the Moderna vaccine along with either a shingles or an influenza vaccine in order to evaluate the immune responses of the COVID-19 booster shots along with other vaccinations.

“As we move to a future where booster shots for our current COVID-19 vaccines are commonplace, it is likely that they will be given alongside other vaccines such as flu shots and the shingles vaccine at the same time,” said Dr. Jonathan Staben, the trial’s Inland Northwest region principal investigator. “We need to continue to do research and study whether giving certain vaccines at the same time affects their performance.”

The MultiCare Institute for Research and Innovation is looking for 200 adults in the Puget Sound and Inland Northwest. To participate, volunteers must:

  • Be 18 years and older;
  • Have received both doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least six months prior;
  • Have not received any vaccination for influenza in the previous six months, or any previous shingles vaccination; and
  • Not be pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the next two months.

Participants who are younger than 50 will only be eligible for the influenza vaccine, while those 50 and older can receive either the influenza or shingles vaccine.

The study is great for someone who is already planning on getting a booster because of health conditions or a high-risk profession, Staben said in a news release.

Participants will make six or more in-person clinic visits and two telephone check-in visits over 24 weeks, according to the release. They will also have blood drawn several times to monitor results and maintain diaries tracking how they feel.

They will be reimbursed for expenses incurred while participating in the trial.

The trial will also look at the additional advantages of combining the COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines, said Dr. Vinay Malhotra, the trial’s Puget Sound region principal investigator.

“While billions of doses of different COVID-19 vaccines have been administered around the world, we are still working to understand the nuances of how long their protection lasts and how it differs from person to person,” Malhotra said.

MultiCare has completed previous COVID-19 clinical trials, including a vaccine trial in January .

Those interested can email, or call (253) 403-7249.

Here’s a look at local numbers:

The Spokane Regional Health District reported 290 new cases and five additional deaths on Thursday. There have been 860 deaths in Spokane due to the virus.

There are 183 people hospitalized in Spokane.

The Panhandle Health District reported 121 new cases and no additional deaths. There have been 501 deaths in the Panhandle Health District due to the virus.

There are 145 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus. Kootenai Health reported 143 people COVID-19 patients, including one pediatric patient. There are 43 patients requiring critical care.

Laurel Demkovich's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.