CHICAGO (CBS) — For the first time in Chicago, a vaccine for COVID-19 will be tested.

CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot had more Monday on the call for volunteers for the medical trial.

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They’ll be looking for 1,000 people to take part, living in the communities hit hardest by the virus.

Dr. Richard Novak is the head of infectious diseases at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the lead investigator of the Moderna company’s vaccine trial at UIC.

It starts July 9.

“We want to measure whether or not we can prevent infection entirely,” Novak said. “Which means people will not even get infected with the virus.”

UIC is taking part in phase three of the vaccine trial.  Jennifer Haller took part in the first phase in Seattle on March 16. Haller was the first person to be given the vaccine.

Her result?

Exactly what researchers and those taking part had hoped.

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“They are seeing the same antibodies as someone who has already gone through the disease the virus,” Haller said.

In Chicago, UIC will look for 1,000 participants in hard hit communities, like Pilsen, Little Village and Englewood to take part in the trial. They’ll be given a placebo or the vaccine to determine if the vaccine works.

“It’s important for people to understand that there’s only a small component of the virus. There’s no way that somebody could get a COVID-19 infection from the vaccine,” Novak said.

Vaccine site locations are still in the planning stage. But Dr. Novak said when it comes to getting to communities in need, they’ll be taking to the road.

“We’re investing in a mobile clinic and this will give us the flexibility to take our vaccine trial to a number of locations,” Novak said. “Any neighborhood we chose to go into as well as any specific factories or warehouses where there’s a large number of people working or assisted living centers.”

Those taking part will be followed for two years. They’ll have to do weekly check-ins to be monitored for symptoms and provide blood samples. They’ll also be compensated.

Anyone interested in volunteering to participate in the vaccine trial should contact UIC researchers at 312-413-5897 or email


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Suzanne Le Mignot