What it's like to volunteer for a coronavirus vaccine trial
Published: 28 May 2020
The Vaccine Institute at St George’s has been leading the trial of a vaccine against Covid-19 with the support of St George’s University Hospitals NHS Trust. Designed and organised by the University of Oxford, St George’s is one of many sites around the country hosting the trial.
Jack recently volunteered and took part in the trial at St George’s. Here Jack explains what the experience has been like for him.
“I saw the news story posted on one of our social channels and thought it was the least I could do with so many of our students and staff volunteering on the frontline or in a multitude of other ways. It also felt quite exciting to be part of something that could potentially help so many people and I felt especially proud that St George’s was playing such an important role as one of a select few sites. I shared the news story with my family and my mother signed up to take part as well, she went through various stages but unfortunately wasn’t eligible to take part in the study as a result of high blood pressure (she assumes from raising me…).”
A surreal but reassuring screening
“I filled in an initial screening questionnaire on the Saturday to assess my eligibility. On the Sunday I received a phone call from one of the research nurses who went through some more questions before offering me a physical screening appointment that week.
“On the Wednesday I walked to work for the first time in weeks, it felt surreal being back on campus while it was completely deserted. I had a two hour screening with a Paediatrician, he was really reassuring and took me through the study details making sure I fully understood what I was signing up for. He took my vitals and then I was free to go with the promise I would hear back soon on whether I had been accepted.
“Finally on Friday I received a phone call letting me know I had been accepted and booking me in for my vaccination the following Tuesday.
Receiving the vaccination
“Throughout the stages leading up to the day of the vaccination it felt exciting to be a part of the study, I can’t lie that on the day a slight sense of trepidation set in. Thankfully I had two lovely doctors who spent around two hours with me double-checking my vitals and administering the vaccine.
“Each day I complete an electronic journal. For the first seven days the questions were in-depth but from then on they have reduced and I only need to comment on my temperature and whether I have developed any symptoms.
A team effort
“I’m grateful to have been able to play a small part in a much larger process to tackle a global problem. It was great to see so many different people taking part in the trial including those in scrubs and regular people in jeans!
“I was glad to hear that there were so many volunteers, I hope the trial is able to achieve the desired result of a workable vaccine.”
The team at St George's are looking for healthy volunteers to take part in a COVID-19 clinical vaccine trial. For more information click on the link here: https://covid19vaccinetrial.co.uk/participate-trial