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CLEVELAND (WJW) “I feel great.” It is the answer to the question that Desmond Kennedy gets anywhere from eight to eight hundred times a day.

He’s one of large group of veterans at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center who has volunteered to test a potential vaccine for Covid-19.

” I would have never have known that I got a shot everyone always asks me how do you feel how do you feel and I said it’s a vaccine I shouldn’t feel any side effects because if I do that means something is wrong, I feel great,” Desmond said.

Desmond was one of the first to volunteer for the vaccine. He says he has always wanted to help others.

Desmon joined the Army to serve his country and volunteered to become a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Divison. He also volunteered for combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He is also volunteering to take part in the Pfizer vaccine tests was a no brainer.

He says you’re taught in the military to face adversity head on and he and other veterans see their participation in this as a way to continue their service in a time of adversity.

“We have to do what we can to help each other get through this the minimum is not going to be sufficient to get us through this so if you can do a little bit extra do a little bit extra,” Desmond said.

Veterans at the Cleveland VA are part of the largest vaccine trials currently underway.

The Pfizer trial is being led by doctors Curtis Nonski, Frederico Perez, and Margaret Tipton and involves particpants getting two shots about three weeks apart.

It also means weeks of follow-up blood draws and examinations. The volunteers are young, old, different races and sexes and have different levels of health.

Their willingness to be part of this trial will provide crucial information that could save lives.

“The VA has a very unique population we are very diverse and the men and women of the military come from many different backgrounds and this is very important for vaccine administration to have a good population represented in the results.” Cleveland VA Infectious Disease Researcher Dr. Robert Bonomo said. “In the spirit that made them serve in the military, they came forward to help their co-veterans.”

The Cleveland VA is the only veteran’s hospital taking part in the Pfizer study.

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