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MultiCare to Bring Phase Three COVID-19 Vaccine Trial to the Inland Northwest

Posted on Jan 4, 2021 ( comments)

SPOKANE, Wash. — MultiCare Health System announced today it has been selected to bring a COVID-19 vaccine phase three clinical trial to the Inland Northwest. Beginning this weekend, residents can volunteer for the Novavax clinical trial.

MultiCare’s Institute for Research and Innovation — which conducts both clinical trials and outcomes-based research with MultiCare-employed physicians, as well as physicians practicing independently in the community — will join over 100 clinics and hospitals around the country participating in this Novavax trial. The Institute hopes to enroll 300 participants in the clinical trial at the MultiCare Rockwood Clinic in Cheney, Wash.

The clinical trial will evaluate a vaccine that has shown promising results for increasing the body’s immune response to the COVID-19 virus.

“Finding effective vaccines is an essential strategy to stopping the spread of COVID-19,” says Dr. Jonathan Staben, the trial’s principal investigator and a Spokane primary care physician at MultiCare Rockwood Clinic. “As a community-based research center, we are delighted to be able to bring this phase three clinical trial opportunity to the Spokane region as the valuable research insights from this study will help inform next steps for this vaccine.”

MultiCare’s Institute for Research and Innovation wants to enroll a diverse group of participants, including people 65 and older, people with underlying medical conditions, and people from racial and ethnic groups disproportionately affected by the pandemic, including African Americans, Latinx community members, Asian Americans, Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

Two out of three people participating in the trial will receive two intramuscular injections of the vaccine spaced three weeks apart. The vaccine is designed to create neutralizing antibodies to fight COVID-19 infection. The remaining one-third of participants will receive injections of a placebo made of saline (sterile salt water) solution.

Participants will be randomly selected to receive the vaccine or placebo. Participants’ health and safety will be monitored for 24 months afterward.

MultiCare doctors and researchers will hold a virtual town hall where people can ask questions and learn more. Open to the public, the online event will start at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 12, 2021. People can register for the event here.

MultiCare has been involved with clinical research studies for over 35 years, initially focusing on the area of oncology. Over time, the research program expanded into a portfolio of Phase I – IV clinical studies spanning a diverse base of diseases and medical conditions. The MultiCare Institute for Research & Innovation, formed in 2010, has gathered all of the research efforts in MultiCare’s health care system into a single program. The Institute participate in research through a number of mechanisms including federal, industry and investigator-initiated studies.

More information on the Novavax clinical trial MultiCare is bringing to the region can be found at

Notes to Editors:

About the Novavax Trial

  1. The technical title for this clinical trial is: A Phase 3, Randomized, Observer-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Study to Evaluate the Efficacy, Safety and Immunogenicity of a SARS-CoV-2 Recombinant Spike Protein Nanoparticle Vaccine (SARS-CoV-2 rS) with Matrix-M1™ Adjuvant in Adult Participants.
  2. The newly described coronavirus’s genetic relationship with the 2002-2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) has resulted in adoption of the name SARS-CoV-2, with the associated disease being referred to as COVID-19.
  3. Novavax Inc. (Nasdaq: NVAX, herein “Novavax”) is a late-stage biotechnology company that promotes improved health globally through the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases.  Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373, was created using Novavax’s recombinant nanoparticle technology to generate antigen derived from the coronavirus spike (S) protein and contains Novavax’s patented saponin-based Matrix-M™ adjuvant to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies. Further Information about NOVAVAX can be found at
  4. Due to the ongoing pandemic, up-to-date national, regulatory and local Institutional Review Board and public health guidance will be in force regarding protecting trial participants from risk of infection at the clinical trial sites.  The clinical trial will use telephone contact, virtual visits via telemedicine and home visits where needed. Patient safety comes first. 
  5. Dr. Staben is the principal investigator for this study and has worked in vaccines for over 13 years.

About MultiCare

MultiCare is a not-for-profit health care organization with more than 18,000 team members, including employees, providers and volunteers. MultiCare has been caring for our community for well over a century, since the founding of Tacoma’s first hospital and today is the largest community-based, locally governed health system in the state of Washington.

MultiCare’s comprehensive system of health includes primary care, urgent care and specialty services — including MultiCare Indigo Urgent CarePulse Heart Institute and MultiCare Rockwood Clinic, the largest multispecialty clinic in the Inland Northwest region.

MultiCare’s network of care includes 10 hospitals:


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MultiCare Health System
MultiCare is a not-for-profit health care organization with more than 20,000 team members, including employees, providers and volunteers. Learn more. More stories by this author
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