SPRINGDALE, Ohio — Researchers are testing whether the public will need another COVID vaccine booster as the pandemic continues on with different variants popping up overtime. 

What You Need To Know

  • Meridian Clinical Research in Springdale is conducting a fourth vaccine trial 

  • The fourth COVID vaccine is an additional booster on top of the initial two-dose shot and booster

  • Researchers are using Moderna in the fourth vaccine trial and are also looking at combing the booster with the flu shot

Alison Nevin is among the first to get the fourth COVID vaccine.  

“It’s good to be a part of the process so we can see what works and what doesn’t,” said Nevin.

She got her initial two-dose COVID vaccine, a booster, and now, her fourth COVID shot.

“I originally was debating whether to even get the shot to begin with, but I like to travel, and I figure at some point down the road, it was going to be required and the chance that it would keep somebody else from getting sick,” said Nevin.

She got follow-up blood work done so researchers can monitor the effects. 

It’s been three weeks since she’s had the extra booster, and so far, she hasn't caught COVID. 

“Other than kind of feeling blah for a day, like you do when you get a shot, but other than that, I’ve been fine,” said Nevin.

She’s part of the Moderna vaccine booster trial happening at the Meridian Clinical Research lab in Springdale. 

“We’re looking at whether the fourth dose is gonna provide long-lasting protection or is it gonna be an annual thing,” said Donna Percy, the regional director at the Meridian Clinical Research lab.

She said they’re also estimating the proper dosage and how this new booster will stand up to COVID variants.

They are also doing another trial that combines the COVID booster with the flu vaccine. 

“They’ll be comparing people that just get the flu vaccine, people that just get the COVID vaccine, and people that get the combination to see if they’re safe and well-tolerated and if they provide protection. It just takes a long time to find out how long the antibodies last," said Percy.

She said they’ve been following patients from the beginning of the pandemic, and they’re still looking for more to be a part of the booster trials.

Nevin said she’s happy to be a part of the process.

“So far so good,” said Nevin.

Researchers said they’ll continue to monitor participants for the next six months to a year. 

U.S. regulators in late March authorized another COVID-19 booster for people age 50 and older, a step to offer extra protection for the most vulnerable in case the coronavirus rebounds. People in that category are encouraged to get the fourth booster four months after their first booster. 

There's limited evidence to tell how much benefit another booster could offer right now. FDA made the decision without input from its independent panel of experts that has wrestled with how much data is required to expand shots. However, the latest expansion of criteria for the fourth booster may not be the last. Regulators meet again this week to debate whether everyone needs the booster, most likely to be available in the fall if authorized. 

For more information about the trial or if you would like to participate, click here