Fascinating. And thus science moves forward. Welcome and thank you. Been There, Done That.
I’ve been asked why I volunteered for the Covid19 vaccine trials. Before you ask, the Moderna trials are double-blind, which means that neither the doctors, the nurses, nor the injectees (is that a word?) are told what they are getting. So no, I do not know whether I got the vaccine or the placebo, and I won’t know until the trials are over.
Anyway, I volunteered for the trials for the same reason that I am a 14+gallon blood donor. It’s a way to help my fellow man without having to deal with my fellow man directly. I heard about the trials being held at Emory University in conjunction with the CDC (which happens to be just down the street) through an article in the local paper. Since I live within walking distance of Emory, I thought: “why not.” If it helps science put the brakes on this horrid pandemic, anything that I can do is a plus. I’m not a doctor or a nurse, a paramedic, or other health-care worker, but this is something I can do to help. So I signed up and was accepted, since I’m a “mature” adult in reasonably good health.
The research assistant called me a week before my first appointment and spent about an hour taking information. They didn’t want to know what brand of toothpaste I favor, but just about everything else was open season. On the first visit, they reviewed this information overload and asked questions about several of the items including childhood illnesses. They were rather startled that I hadn’t had the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine until they checked my age – I got my immunity the hard way.
After that, I was visited by an RN who did a complete physical workup and took lots of blood samples. They have enough DNA samples now that they could clone me several times over if they wished. Then the injection itself. The assistant puts a flag on the outside of the door once the physical is over, and by magic a box appears in the bin on the door with the injection in it in a sterile wrapper. Pop! In goes the shot and now I sit for 30 minutes to make sure that I’m not going to grow horns or turn into a zombie immediately.
At that point, the assistant trained me on the online log that I’m required to keep for the next two years, and off I went. I was required to check in every night for the first week after the injection and report my temperature and the injection site data (redness, swelling, etc). At the end of the first week, and for the three weeks following, I got a weekly safety check to make sure I hadn’t turned into a zombie yet and that I was still functioning.
A month after the first injection, I came back in for the follow-up shot. Same procedure except that they didn’t have to wade through the mountain of paperwork needed before. Again, I got sent home and had a daily report to complete for a week. After that, again weekly safety calls, and a month after the second shot, another check-up physical.
I am now into the weekly online reports which consist mainly of ‘yes-I’m-fine-here-now-thank-you-how-are-you?’ I will have my next monthly safety call this week. Since the media are reporting that the Moderna trials seem to be 95+% successful, I don’t know how much longer the project will need my services, but I will continue with the follow-up as long as they feel it is necessary.
I don’t know whether I got the vaccine or the placebo, but I have had essentially no reaction to whatever-it-was that they injected me with. If that’s the vaccine, it’s wonderful. There is, of course, the possibility that long-term effects of the vaccine may not show up for another six months or a year … I’m optimistic by nature, so I’m going to go on my merry way, still wearing a mask any time I’m associating with anyone outside my pod, practicing social distancing, and washing my paws on a regular basis.