My Experience Participating in the COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

By Hannah Lally

This past month I participated in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial, and here’s my experience:

My mom, a nursing professor, has a lot of connections in the medical field, so she was one of the first to hear about the vaccine trial and immediately signed the whole family up. It took place at Omega Medical Research Center in Warwick. People can choose which Coronavirus vaccine trial they want to participate in, whether that’s Pfizer or AstraZeneca. Testers either get the actual vaccine or a placebo (salt water), but they don’t know which one they got. This is to see the difference in side effects and antibodies in both groups. Plus every visit, testers receive money and there’s six visits over the span of two years. I had to decide if the money was worth the possible side effects of the vaccine. After much thought, I decided on money>side effects.

On the first day they were testing the Pfizer vaccine on my age group, my brother and I went into the office. We filled out a lot of paperwork, and when I mean a lot, I mean packets upon packets. Then, someone drew our blood so that next visit they can see how the antibodies have changed (if we got the vaccine). We also had to get a Covid test when we were there. Next, someone came in to give us a shot. She’s the only person in the office who knows which shot we got.

Every night, we have to answer questions pertaining to side effects on an app. It’s been about a week and I’m feeling pretty good. I managed to convince myself I had side effects like fatigue and aches, but then I realized that it’s probably all in my head. They call it the Placebo Effect for a reason, am I right? I’ve had a few mild headaches since the trial which is a popular side effect. I won’t know whether I got the vaccine or a placebo until the vaccine becomes available to my age group, which most likely won’t be until summer. When that time comes, I can ask the office which one I got. I’ll go in for my next dose in a month. For now, I will continue to follow Coronavirus guidelines and look out for side effects of the vaccine. I’m happy to be a part of history.