For science, for the world – participating in the COVID-19 vaccine trial
It’s one thing to participate in a scientific study. But to participate in a vaccine trial for a virus in the middle of a pandemic around said virus? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity! I’ll be writing a series on my experience participating in a SARS-CoV-2 trial.
Since vaccines are one of CareSet’s specialty areas, I thought it was fitting to jump on the chance to see first-hand what the process of FDA approval is like from a patient’s perspective. So I decided to dedicate the next two years of my life to science.
COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Seeking Participants
When I first read that COVID-19 vaccine trials were set to come to Houston, I eagerly signed up to hopefully be a part of the trial. Within a few days, I received a phone call from a third-party who was collecting participants. I answered the same questions I submitted online, along with a few more. Toward the end of the call, I was promised a follow-up within a week.
A month later, someone from the organization reached out to me. We spoke on the phone and I answered more questions. As it turned out, one of the vaccine trials was filled up. But the other was still seeking more participants, and would I be interested? Absolutely!
Several days later, another call, more questions, and finally an appointment was booked.
COVID-19 Vaccine Trial – First Visit
A week later I drove 30 minutes to a clinic. Here is what happened next:
- Interaction with person 1 – A front office person checked me in. It was a standard physician office visit interaction, plus a temperature check.
- Interaction with person 2 – I followed another person into a room.
- Interaction with person 3 – A person came into the room and asked the list of questions I’d previously answered. They also took a urine sample. Pregnancy meant disqualification from the study.
- Interaction with person 4 – Another person came in, gave me a high-level summary of the study, and gave me a consent form, and HIPAA authorization form to read and sign. After some time for me to read, they came back and took the paperwork.
- Interaction with person 5 – A nurse practitioner came to check my pulse and to listen to my heart/lungs.
- Interaction with person 6 – A nurse came in and took a blood sample. I was surprised at how many vials she filled, but after a quick Google search, I learned it was pretty standard.
- Interaction with persons 7 & 8 – A person came in to give me the injection, along with someone who had a computer, taking notes of everything. Then I was told to stay there for the next 30 minutes to make sure I didn’t have an adverse reaction, and to be sure I felt okay.
“Since vaccines are one of CareSet’s
specialty areas, I thought it was fitting
to jump on the chance to see first-hand
what the process of FDA approval
is like from a patient’s perspective.”
- Interaction with person 9 – Someone else then came in and gave me the timeline of the trial, and was there to answer any questions I might have had. This person also gave me the gift card I would be compensated with and made sure I downloaded and understood the app to record my symptoms over the next several months.
They all wore masks, some also had a faceguard. The ones who actually poked and prodded me wore gloves.
Maybe I received the vaccine, or maybe I received the placebo. It’s too early to tell right now. But I look forward to being a part of something so monumental, as Latines have hardly been considered during trials in the past. The FDA has actually encouraged “the enrollment of populations most affected by COVID-19, specifically racial and ethnic minorities.” In the meantime, if you have any questions about my experience, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter.