By Suzanne Le Mignot

CHICAGO (CBS) — A second coronavirus vaccine, this one made by Moderna, has been found to be highly effective, and Chicago played a pivotal role.

CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot talked Monday to Bonnie Blue, who took part in the vaccine trial because of the impact COVID-19 has had among African-Americans.

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“I was the first one to get the injects and finding out that it’s this effective is exciting,” she said.

Blue participated in the University of Illinois at Chicago Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial. The South Shore resident does not know if she received a placebo or the vaccine, which is shown to be nearly 95% effective.

Blue said she relies on public transportation.

Many of Blue’s friends and loved ones have contracted COVID-19, but she has not.

“I have a friend now that is fighting it. My daughter-in-law’s dad passed from it. My niece and her family had it,” she said.

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Dr. Richard Novak is the lead investigator of the Moderna vaccine trial conducted at UIC, in which Blue participated.

“What we are seeing is more and more of our participants are giving us that kind of a story,” Novak said.  “They’re encountering people in their lives who end up having coronavirus infection.”

Novak said by the end of December, Moderna plans to have 10 million doses ready.  They will go to first responders and healthcare workers first.  Novak said decisions are still being made about how the vaccine will be distributed and if high risk groups, like those in nursing homes, will be next in line to receive the two dose vaccine.  He said both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines should be available for the general public by spring or summer of next year.

“It gives us tremendous hope,” he said. “If we can vaccinate everyone with a vaccine, that’s 90 to 95 percent efficacious, then we’re going to see this pandemic end.”

Novak said the Moderna vaccine also has an advantage over the one made by Pfizer. The Moderna vaccine can be kept in a regular freezer or in a refrigerator and does not require extremely cold storage, like the Pfizer vaccine.

“I would love everyone to feel as good as I do about doing something to help at this time in our history,” Blue said.

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Suzanne Le Mignot