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US Senator Participates in COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

FILE - This Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, file photo shows Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaking during a news conference in Washington. Portman is participating in a COVID-19 vaccine study.

Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman announced Tuesday he is participating in a phase 3 trial for the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by American multinational corporation Johnson & Johnson.

Portman said he hopes to help boost public confidence in vaccines as America prepares for a massive inoculation effort against the coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

“Getting a safe & effective vaccine is the single most important thing we can do to beat #COVID19,” Portman tweeted. “I encourage folks to participate in trials & feel confident in the vaccine once it is authorized by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration].”

Portman signed up as a test subject after receiving a briefing from an Ohio-based firm that is conducting the late-stage trial of the vaccine.

The 64-year-old lawmaker is one of 10,000 volunteers administered a blind dose, which is either the vaccine or a placebo. Portman agreed to monitor his vital signs and keep a daily log of his health.

Portman’s announcement came one day after another company, Moderna, said a phase 3 trial shows its vaccine to be 94.5% effective. Earlier this month, drug maker Pfizer announced results showing 90% efficacy for yet another vaccine. Both companies plan to seek emergency use authorization from the FDA and hope to vaccinate as many as 20 million Americans by the end of the year.

Despite promising trial data, a recent Gallup poll found that half of Americans do not plan to get the shot.