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Why I'm helping find a vaccine for Covid-19 - Claire's Story

Since the Covid-19 Vaccine Registry was launched in the summer, it’s been part of my job to promote it far and wide so that people will register their interest in taking part in studies to find a vaccine for the virus. We need about 42,500 people in the region and at the time of writing, 21, 425 have come forward.

So I felt it was the right thing for me to sign up myself - and I’m glad I did. Through the Registry, I have been randomised on to a vaccine trial taking place at Midlands NHS Partnership Foundation Trust and this week I had my initial appointment after being sent a very comprehensive patient information leaflet to help me decide.

Everyone was very welcoming and I was taken through a thorough health questionnaire as well as key points about how the study will work. After a blood test and various observations - blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation - I was given an (almost painless!) injection.

The trial is double blind, which means that I don’t know whether I received the vaccine or a placebo (which in this case is just a saline solution), and the clinicians don’t know either - everything is managed via a code, to prevent any unconscious bias affecting the process. In a medical emergency, or if a different vaccine is approved for use before this one, they can find out very quickly which one was administered.

I also had to learn how to do a home swab test in case I develop any Covid-19 symptoms, and download an app on to my phone to help with administering the trial.

My first follow-up appointment is in three weeks’ time, when I will have a second vaccination and then a fortnight later and at three, six and 12 months (but no more vaccinations!). In the meantime I feel very confident that support is available if I have any issues, and I can withdraw from the trial at any time if I want to, but I can’t see that happening.

This week, a friend messaged me to say: ‘I can’t tell you how much hope it’s given me to know the vaccine trials are under way in earnest.’

I was so pleased to hear that, and to have the opportunity to do something proactive to help find a solution to the current situation which has affected everyone, whether they have contracted Covid-19 or not. And an added bonus was getting the chance to see so many of my Network colleagues carrying out the trial so cheerfully and efficiently in Partnership with the Trust.

We’re all doing our bit!

By Claire Hall, CRN West Midlands Communications Lead, November 2020


The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.