Hear what the experts from Houston Fights COVID have to say about a new vaccine

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Experts with Houston Fights Covid are answering your questions about a new COVID-19 vaccine.

Speaker: Veronica Garcia Fragoso, MD

Dr. Veronica Garcia Fragoso became interested in becoming a physician at a young age and was selected to attend South Texas High School for Health Professions. The commute was two hours from Brownsville to Mercedes but the first-generation American says it was well worth it.

Fluent in both English and Spanish, Dr. Fragoso moved to San Antonio where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from St. Mary's University with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry. She then went on to obtain her medical degree from UTHSC - Houston Medical School (now known as McGovern Medical School at UT Health). Following medical school, she completed her residency through a program known today as Houston Methodist Family Medicine Residency.

Initially in private practice, Dr. Fragoso went on to work as a clinician and associate professor for UT Physicians and later practiced as a visiting physician. She says it was a great experience because she would care for homebound and disabled patients. Her longtime mentor, the founder of the Texas Center for Drug Development, Dr. Jerry Mitchell, led her to clinical research where she says she was inspired by his passion for science and patient care. Today Dr. Fragoso is serving as Principal Investigator of several COVID vaccine trials at TCDD. In her role, she supervises clinical research and ensures the protection of participants' rights, safety, and welfare.

Speaker: Christene Kimmel, Moderna COVID Vaccine Trial Participant

Christene Kimmel, a wife, mother, and employee at the Baker Institute at Rice University, was the first participant in the Moderna Phase 3 trial at TCDD in Houston. Christine said, "The inspiration for my participation in the Moderna Phase 3 Vaccine Trial comes from needing to help and wanting to 'make a difference' - as the mosaic reads on the back of the Baker Institute at Rice. I, like other Houstonians, have wanted to help from the start of the pandemic. Houstonians pride ourselves on our crisis response, we are a culture of helpers. I was struggling with where and how I could help. Putting my arm out in order to receive the vaccine, helps Houston and the world get one step closer to a day where we can all safely hug each other again."

More about #HoustonFightsCovid:

#HoustonFightsCOVID is a movement to bring together Houstonians from all walks of life to join the cause to aid the development of vaccines and turn the tide against COVID. This is an initiative by sister organizations: DM Clinical Research and the Texas Center for Drug Development. Together, they comprise the largest independent clinical research group in the city.

Through their partnerships with preeminent global pharmaceutical partners, they're bringing opportunities to the community to participate in cutting-edge research, under the careful medical supervision of local physicians. The research organizations are proud of their Houston roots, with over a decade and a half serving the community and their leadership in the industry. Earlier this year, they were nominated by the World Vaccine Congress for the Best Clinical Trial Site Award. Over the years, the team, with the support of thousands of Houstonian participants, has played a key part in vaccine trials to help protect Americans against threats from Ebola and Anthrax to Pneumonia and the flu.

The fight against COVID is certainly the most important of our time. Houstonians have stepped up to the cause in record numbers. About 1400 have already received the study vaccines. But we still have a long way to go and need your help.