Patient Story: Dana, a Research Study Participant at Meridian

What led you to participate in a research study?

I joined the COVID-19 vaccine trial because of what it was. We needed to bring this vaccine to market right away because it was so devastating and spreading fast. 

I was enticed by the opportunity to participate, be part of medical history, and to get it to market, while being able to say I was part of it. I also have some underlying health issues, so being able to possibly get the vaccine early was also a benefit. 

Is this your first experience with clinical research? What was the process like?

I had looked into joining a clinical trial in the past but had never pulled the trigger to participate.  

I did some research about clinical trials and the vaccines being developed against COVID-19 because I had not participated in any previous studies. I was reminded through my research that just because mRNA technology was being used for the first time in the COVID-19 vaccines didn’t mean it hadn’t been studied for a long time previously, so I wasn’t too worried about participating.  

Also joining a Phase 3 trial made it clear to me that there had been a lot of research on the vaccine already. I felt comfortable with participating because to me, the benefit outweighed any side effect or problem I might experience. 

Overall, I thought the process was easy. It was interesting how it all worked, as there was a 50 percent chance of getting vaccine or getting a placebo. 

When the vaccine received FDA approval and began being administered publicly, I worried that I might not get the vaccine right away if I got the placebo initially; however, between Meridian and [the Sponsor], the staff ensured that I was “unblinded,” or told which dose I got in a timely manner, and had I not received the actual vaccine initially, I would have received it before I was eligible for it outside of the study! 

Since I received the actual vaccine initially, I was even one of the first people in the nation to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. I’m proud of that fact. 

What was your experience with Meridian like?

Since the trial took place at the height of the pandemic, Meridian took every precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to its patients and staff. The whole process was very organized – everyone felt comfortable. 

The staff made time to ensure social distancing was accommodated, that all patients had their questions answered, and that I personally understood what was happening at each step in the trial. 

What advice would you give to someone who is considering participating in a clinical trial?

I encourage you to consider doing a clinical trial if you have previously thought about it. Not all of us are comfortable with joining one, and if you’re not, don’t do it. But, if you are interested, do some research on it beforehand, and then contact Meridian. 

There are so many different clinical trials to join, including flu shot studies where you get a flu shot, and are proactive in helping with the research instead of just getting a flu shot to protect yourself. 

Clinical trials benefit not only you, but all of us. If that is something you want to be a part of, I encourage you to consider it.