Ochsner Health Announces First Enrollment for Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE Phase 2/3 Study of Investigational Vaccine Against COVID-19

Ochsner Health announced plans to participate as a study site for the Phase 2/3 global study sponsored by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE of an investigational vaccine, BNT162b2, against SARS-CoV-2 (commonly known as COVID-19). The health system has already had multiple participants enroll.

Ochsner is one of only 120 clinical investigational sites around the world that will collectively enroll up to 30,000 participants. The site is one of two locations in Louisiana to offer the study.

Led by Ochsner Principal Investigator Dr. Julia Garcia-Diaz, Director of Clinical Infectious Diseases Research and Infectious Disease Specialist, the study will enroll a limited number of randomized participants selected from an existing pool of candidates from across Louisiana who previously expressed interest in COVID-19 research. The research team is currently in the selection process.

“Louisiana has been a COVID-19 hot spot for quite some time, and we know that the development of a vaccine is the best way to further protect our patients and community from this virus,” said Dr. Leonardo Seoane, Chief Academic Officer, Ochsner Health. “Ochsner was selected for our expertise and excellence in conducting clinical trials. This study is another tangible way we continue to play a significant role in supporting treatment, prevention and testing advances through research and clinical trials.”

Garcia-Diaz added, “Ochsner has a long history of being at the forefront of innovation, research and clinical trials. Being at the center of this unprecedented pandemic is no different. With a population who has an increased prevalence of being high-risk and who suffers from chronic disease, we are proud to be a selected site for this vaccine study and remain committed to fighting this disease and stopping the spread in our communities.”

How It Works

The Phase 2/3 study is an event driven trial that will continue enrollment on a rolling basis, enrolling up to 30,000 participants at 120 clinical investigational sites around the world.

All participants accepted into the study will be randomized to receive either the vaccine or placebo. All participants will receive two shots; 50% will receive the vaccine and 50% will receive a placebo; neither the patients nor the investigators will know what they have received.

The Phase 2/3 trial is designed as a 1:1 investigational vaccine candidate to placebo, randomized, observer-blinded study to obtain safety, immune response and efficacy data needed for regulatory review. The trial's goals will be prevention of COVID-19 in those who have not been infected prior to immunization, prevention of COVID-19 regardless of whether participants have previously been infected and the prevention of severe COVID-19 in those groups.

To learn more about Ochsner's COVID-19 response, please visit


About Ochsner Health

Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate. Ochsner Health is a not-for-profit committed to giving back to the communities it serves through preventative screenings, health and wellness resources and partnerships with innovative organizations that share our vision. Ochsner Health healed more than 876,000 people from across the globe in 2019, providing the latest medical breakthroughs and therapies, including digital medicine for chronic conditions and telehealth specialty services. Ochsner Health is a national leader, named the top hospital in Louisiana and a top children's hospital by U.S. News & World Report. As Louisiana's leading healthcare educator, Ochsner Health and its partners educate thousands of healthcare professionals annually. Ochsner Health is innovating healthcare by investing in new technologies and research to make world-class care more accessible, affordable, convenient and effective. Ochsner's team of more than 26,000 employees and 4,500 providers are working to reinvent the future of health and wellness in the region. To learn more about Ochsner Health, please visit To transform your health, please visit