MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota medical team has played a key role in possibly getting another COVID vaccine on the market within weeks. Allina Health is running the state’s only clinical trial site for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

WCCO checked in on the progress and found a husband and wife team committed to protecting the population from COVID-19 once and for all.

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Beverly Christie has a history of working with research as a nurse clinician.

“I thought it was really important to jump in and be vaccinated or step up to be part of the trial in this crazy time,” Christie said.

She was among the first of 230 people to take part in Johnson and Johnson’s ensemble study at Allina. As part of phase three, she got her shot on Oct. 30.

“I absolutely had no side effects at all,” she added.

It didn’t hurt her husband — Dr. Frank Rhame an infectious disease specialist at Allina — is running it, making COVID-19 prevention a family priority.

“We always try to get a sympathetic person to be the first enrollee in any trial,” Rhame joked.

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Allina constructed a socially-distanced room complete with barriers and air flow changes. Vaccine stations and secure storage another priority.

“In this instance everyone stepped up to the plate really nicely,” Rhame said of the effort to get it all together.

Considered a game changer, this vaccine is just one dose, and no ultra-cold storage is required.

“More useful for developing countries and countries that may not have the freezer resources that we do in the United States or even rural United States,” Christie said.

Christie also received the Pfizer vaccine last month. Although, double dipping isn’t recommended at this point, her progress is being closely tracked and will be for the next two years under the ensemble study.

More than 6,000 people signed up to take part in Minnesota’s Johnson and Johnson trial. Again, only 230 were enrolled.

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If the FDA approves the vaccine in the coming weeks, it’s expected more than a billion doses will be manufactured and distributed worldwide by the end of the year.

Liz Collin