Want to Help Out with the COVID-19 Crisis? Volunteer for a Vaccine Trial

William Asher
Published Nov 3, 2023



All of the eyes of the world are on the medical community as scientists race to find a vaccine to prevent the COVID-19 virus from taking hold. Bringing a vaccine to market is not an easy task. In addition to the development of the actual vaccine, the treatment needs to be tested in various phases throughout the implementation to ensure that it is safe and effective.

At current count, there are more than 100 possible COVID-19 vaccines in development. While that may seem a like a lot, it is a big hill to climb to bring the vaccine to fruition. One of the biggest challenges of developing an effective vaccine is finding individuals who are willing to volunteer to be part of the trials. If you want to be a part of this unprecedented time in a positive way, you can volunteer to be a participant in the vaccine trails.

Here are a few things to know about this process before making this decision.

A Vaccine Does Not Give You the Virus



Many people erroneously believe that the vaccine actually gives them the virus. Because the vaccine does not contain a living or dead virus, there is no way that you will get infected with the actual coronavirus.

These placebo-controlled trials use people who are more likely to be exposed to the virus. For example, the current clinical trial that is being administered by Moderna is using a high proportion or individuals age 65 and older or those with compromised immune systems. The trials are also being conducted in communities that are showing a high prevalence of the virus.

How Do the Trials Work?



Because these studies are randomized controlled trials, some participants are assigned to receive the vaccine while others only receive a placebo. A placebo has no active ingredients and is used for the controlled group of the trial. Most of these trials are double-blinded, meaning that neither the researchers nor the participants know who is getting the vaccine and who is getting the placebo. This ensures that there is no bias built into the study.

Researches will then compare the two groups to understand if fewer people get sick from the vaccine group than from those who only received the placebo. The intended goal is for those who receive the vaccine to get sick at significantly lower rates compared to the placebo.

Time Committment



Before you seriously consider participating in one of these trials, it is important that you understand the full scope of the time commitment. At the beginning of the study, you will be asked a long list of questions about your individual medical history. The reserachers may also conduct a thorough physical exam, measuring your weight, blood pressure, and other relevant health information. This will help to determine your qualifications for the study. Do not be suprirsed if you are also required to submit a blood sample.

If you are asked to participate in the trials, you should expect to be observed for approximately one to two years. During your visits with the study researchers, you will be asked a litany of questions as well as medical examinations to help to determine how your body is reacting to the vaccine. You may also be asked to keep a diary of any possible side effects from the trial.

Understanding Side Effects



It is important to understand that no vaccine trial is without risk. While you are doing a great thing for society by agreeing to participate in the trials, be sure that you know exactly what the risks are for your participation. It is not unusual to have a reaction when administered the vaccine. Because the vaccine is engineered to deliver an immune response, inflammation is one of the most commone side effects.

Other possible side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently in the trial stage include a sore arm at the injection site, a low fever, or minor muscle aches and pains. Most side effects should subside in a few days after the shot.

If you are interested in signing up for a trial, you will likely be matched with a study that is close to your area. As the virus continues its march across the planet, there will likely be a myriad of ongoing vaccine trial studies looking for participants.

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