Case study: An opportunity to help out - Alex's Story
Alex is 20 and lives in Shropshire. She is participating in the Valneva Covid-19 vaccine trial at Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and shares her experiences of what it is like to be involved in research.
What made you sign up to the research?
I heard about the research through my university. I thought it was a good opportunity to get the vaccine and to help out. You need people to help with the research and I was given the opportunity to help out.
Did you have any concerns or worries about the trial?
No I was quite happy about it, but there were some people who told me not to do it which made me a bit worried. Some of my family and friends were not sure about it and they tried to talk me out of it.
What were the concerns from your family and friends?
Just that maybe it wasn’t safe or that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into and it wasn’t worth the risk. However when I came to hospital and watched that video at the start it explained everything and I was fine with it.
What’s involved in the research?
I had to come to hospital and have different tests and talk to the doctors about my medical history. I had to have some bloods and some physical exams. I got the vaccine and then I have to come back for check-ups afterwards to see how it is. I also had to fill in the E-Diary to check my symptoms and make sure that there was no problems with the vaccine.
Did you feel supported throughout the research?
Yes definitely. Everyone explains everything to you all the time and checks everything is OK. I had an appointment but couldn’t attend. I phoned up and everyone was really helpful and we rearranged the appointment. There were no issues with it. I think it’s really good I would definitely do it again. Everyone was really nice and it’s really easy. You didn’t have to do anything horrible!
Have there been any benefits to you?
Obviously getting the vaccine is pretty beneficial. I want to go into healthcare so I found it really interesting seeing the whole process and everyone’s roles in it. If I were to do it again and I would have something different, I would want to know when all the appointments are going to be at thestart. I didn’t realise there would be quite so many appointments close together.
Do you think it is important for young people to be involved in research?
Yeah I definitely think young people should be involved. You need people to be involved in order to make advances. I think it is something that everybody, if they feel comfortable with it, should try. You could help, like with the vaccine, help someone else. Being young obviously, young people are normally healthier so you are probably in a better position to do it than other people.
Interested in signing up to research? Find out more at the Be Part of Research website.
For Covid-19 vaccine trials, visit this www.nhs.uk/researchcontact.