Giora Griffel, a resident of Princeton, New Jersey, was one of the 43,000 people who volunteered to participate in Pfizer's phase three trial for a frontrunner COVID-19 vaccine.
He decided to participate in the trial after his wife, a researcher at Mt. Sinai Health System, put him in touch with the physicians who were behind the massive and crucial testing phase.
Griffel said he "immediately jumped on it" when offered the opportunity.
Now the contribution is paying off. This week Pfizer announced the results, which showed a 90 percent effectiveness rate. The announcement has spurred optimism among Americans, and investors for that matter, that a cure to coronavirus may be on its way.
As for any jitters about being first in line, Griffel said he trusted the process.
"I understood the science behind it," Griffel told Cheddar. "I was actually excited to maybe get a real vaccine and be protected. And, of course, you think about the fact that you join an amazing effort to cure the COVID as quickly as possible."
The double-blind study gave participants a 50-50 chance of getting either saline water or the actual vaccine — which at that point had already been tested by thousands of people.
When it came to side effects, Griffel said both he and his wife experienced slight flu symptoms immediately after each of the two shots they were administered over the month of August
"After the first shot, I felt okay," he said. "My wife had some fever. It went away after one day. The second time around, it was the opposite. She felt a little sick. I was a little more severe."
Outside of those minor side effects, however, Griffel said he's confident the vaccine is safe.
"I'm pretty sure that it is safe, and I'm pretty comfortable about it," he said.
Griffel added that Pfizer would not verify whether or not they received the vaccine, but that he and his wife later independently confirmed through a blood test that they had antibodies.
Overall, Griffel advises others to get vaccinated as soon as they can.
"You protect yourself. You protect your surroundings. You protect the world," he said.
Editor's Note: Griffel is a relative to a member of Cheddar's editorial team.