Valley mother weighs in on fentanyl vaccine

She believes it could have saved her son's life.

Sandra Bagwell is still mourning the loss of her 19-year-old son, Ryan.

"If my child was alive today, I would have him vaccinated," Bagwell said.

Bagwell says her son unknowingly took the drug.

She is hopeful a fentanyl vaccine that's currently in the works will help save the lives of others.

"The very real concern is that they're going to get a hold of the drug that is laced with fentanyl," University of Houston Research Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Colin Haile said.

At the University of Houston, Haile has been developing the fentanyl vaccine for the last five years.

'I've gotten quite a few inquiries from parents who are terrified," Haile said.

The fentanyl vaccine creates antibodies to protect against overdoses or accidental poisoning, like Bagwell's son.

"We could see it as a type of prophylaxis or a way to protect individuals that are exposed to the drug," Haile said.

The vaccine could protect people inadvertently exposed to fentanyl, but it's designed for people who are addicted to it and want to quit using.

"It's not saying it's ok to use drugs, no that's not the point of this," Bagwell said. "It's just like any other vaccine."

For parents like Bagwell, the vaccine can't come fast enough.

"It might take up to three years, and three years —we don't have three years, you know," Bagwell said. "The sooner that this vaccine gets out would be great just like you know the covid vaccine, it was sped up and to help people, you know and people survived."

If the vaccine is approved within the next three years, it will require two boosters, months after the initial shot.