FOX 5 checks in with Moderna coronavirus vaccine trial participants

Moderna says its COVID vaccine candidate offers immunity for up to three months after the second dose.

The biotech company says adults ages 18 to 55 saw the highest levels of antibodies, followed by people over 71, and those between the ages of 56 and 70.  

The vaccine still awaits emergency approval from the FDA.  

READ MORE: FDA announces advisory committee meeting to discuss Moderna vaccine candidate

FOX 5's Shirin Rajaee checked in with Moderna vaccine participants in Phase 3 trials at George Washington University. 

"I feel great, I think I got the vaccine, and I feel liberated. I haven't been doing much, but I actually felt empowered to visit family over Thanksgiving," said GW professor and vaccine participant Bill Adams. 

Adams says he knew there was a lot of uncertainty, but says the risk of getting COVID was greater.  

"I didn't feel I was sticking my neck out because the Phase 1 trials, everyone developed antibodies, and in Phase 2, not a single person had bad side effects," said Adams.  

READ MORE: Coronavirus vaccine test participants talk about the experience

Vanessa Ferragut, 43, says she was uncertain whether or not she received the vaccine or the placebo. But if the vaccine was available today, she said she would absolutely take it. 

Ferragut says she trusts in the doctors and researchers at Moderna, who have answered a number of her questions and in turn have given her confidence. 

"One of the answers I got is that this vaccine is not being manufactured with the RNA strand of COVID. So very much like the flu shot, where you may get severe symptoms of the flu immediately after shot, you won't get any symptoms of COVID, you won't get COVID," said Ferragut.

READ MORE: Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine candidate is 94.5% effective

Yet, many in the African American and Hispanic communities are hesitant about a vaccine. 

Mark Spradley, 66, of D.C., says that distrust is rooted in history. He says it goes back to the 40-year Syphilis study in Tuskegee, Alabama, and the heinous unethical experiment – but he says because of that, we have the Belmont Report, which recommended safeguards that were put into place for human trials. 

"So now this is the best time to participate in medical research, and it's the best time in American history for people to embrace once in a lifetime medical breakthrough," said Spradley. 

He adds that it's now time for social scientists to take over in order to convince Americans to take the vaccine. Spradley says it starts in schools and houses of worship, places where people have a relationship with someone they trust. 

His message to folks who are hesitant: "The risk is greater for you to go to the supermarket than it is to participation this study, or to line up and roll up your sleeves and take the vaccination," said Spradley.   

Vanessa comes from a Hispanic family, and she also works as a front line worker in the hospitality industry. 

"My message to the Hispanic community is that we're not invisible from this virus, in fact we're the most susceptible because of the industries we work in, and the jobs we work so hard in. and those industries and those jobs are the ones that are not going away when we re-open," said Ferragut. 

Moderna's vaccine is still waiting for emergency approval from the FDA set to take place on the 17th. Meantime - the FDA is scheduled to discuss Pfizer's vaccine next week.