NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The H1N1 flu vaccine study began Tuesday at Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Vanderbilt is one of the eight medical facilities testing the H1N1 flu vaccine and its participants are some of the first in the nation to test the vaccine.
Dr. Kathryn Edwards, who has studied vaccinations for years, is heading the study.
"I think it means that we are really leaders in evaluating vaccines and it also means for that many years that the community, the Nashville community and Middle Tennessee community, has stepped up to the plate," she said.
There are 134 patients enrolled in the study, half are between the ages of 18 and 65.
The safety and effectiveness of the vaccine will be tested.
"We're looking at safety very carefully in all of these vaccine studies, people give us their side effects daily, we call and talk with them, so safety is being assessed," said Dr. Edwards.
The participants are divided into two groups. One group will get a lower dosage and the other a higher dosage.
That will help doctors determine what size the actual dosage should be.
Dr. Edwards, "We're seeing how quickly people can develop antibody response and that can be really helpful because we could know people could be protected more quickly."
Michael Action is among the participants.
He said he isn't overly concerned about H1N1 but wanted to do his part to help.
"Very little pain at all... just a little tiny prick," he told News 2 Tuesday following the first of two shots.
Action said he'd rather take his chances with the vaccine and its risks, than getting sick.
Volunteer Alison Smith agrees.
"I guess there's always sort of a risk with these sort of things, but, um, you know, I think that risk is minimal and the, um, it's far outweighed by the good that could be done by this kind of thing," she said.
Researchers will first test the vaccine on adults and in about a week, studies will be performed on children.
Vanderbilt is still seeking participants who are six months to 17 years of age and also patients 65 years and older.
Participants will be paid.
Click here for more information or call 615-322-2730 if you'd like to participate.
So far, Tennessee has 247 confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu virus, including one death.