What led you to participate in a research study?
I saw a roadside poster near the university in my neighborhood [for a vaccine study] and called Meridian.
My first experience was in the Phase 3 trial for [one of the] COVID-19 vaccines. Subsequently, Meridian called me to see if I would participate in the trial for [a] booster vaccine, which I did.
Why did you choose to participate in a research study?
It was the height of the pandemic. My heart went out to the essential workers who had to show up every day to work — they were risking exposure to the virus, and ultimately their lives, to keep the rest of us alive. It was frightening, and a vaccine was critical in fighting this virus. I felt helpless until I saw the poster looking for trial participants and thought I could do something to help. I was healthy and willing to take the risk to be part of the effort for an effective vaccine.
What was the process like?
The initial phone call I received was handled professionally and efficiently. The employee explained the purpose of the call, the study, and handled the few questions I had in a patient and thorough manner. When I received the first shot, the medical personnel thanked me for my willingness to enter the trial. I felt my contribution was appreciated and valued. The contacts I had for my in-clinic visits and my wellness checks were always friendly.
What did you think of clinical trials before participating in one?
To be honest, I didn’t think much about them. I was aware that drugs were tested in trials before approval. I think the pandemic and its direct impact on me and my family made me take a serious look at the importance of the trials. I had many friends and family members share their concerns with me about risks of a new vaccine, but it became clear that someone had to step up and be part of the process to assist in the evaluation of these vaccines.
How has your experience differed from what you originally expected?
I did not have any specific expectations. I went in with an open mind and no preconceived notions. I had a great and fulfilling experience. I can look back and say I played a small part in beating COVID-19.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering participating in a clinical trial?
I would certainly encourage them to ask questions, understand the purpose of the drug/vaccine and how it is meant to work in the body. I believe it gives one a comfort level with any risks and a sense of purpose.