OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Omaha-based Nebraska State Sen. Tony Vargas, who lost his father to COVID-19, says he's doing his part to help fight the spread by taking part in a vaccine trial.
Vargas made the announcement on Twitter on Thursday morning:
This week I started a #COVID19 vaccine trial. I lost my dad to this virus and I’ve seen how this virus disproportionately impacts people of color, especially Latinos like me. I want to help ensure this vaccine is effective & safe for EVERYONE. Thanks for following along. #Omaha pic.twitter.com/TL57O62yy7— Senator Tony Vargas😷✊🏾 (@TonyVargas) October 8, 2020
Vargas signed up this week through Meridian Clinical Research to begin the trial, saying there's not enough representation in these trials for people of color.
"If they do not have enough individuals of color in these trials it somewhat threatens how effective this vaccine can be for the whole population, especially people of color like myself," Senator Vargas said.
He received his first dose Monday and will monitor his vitals and symptoms for two years. But this is something that many Americans are still not willing to try...even when a vaccine is approved.
According to the latest CNN poll, only about half of Americans (51%) say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine once it is available. That percentage has dropped since May, when 66% of people said they would try a vaccine. Senator Vargas hopes to change the perception of a vaccine and is trying to dismantle any misconceptions.
"Some of the misconceptions or the fears I heard is that somehow I'm going to be injected with the virus itself, which is not the case," he said.
Vargas encourages others to sign up, especially individuals of color.