What led you to participate in a research study?
Both of our older kids got vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as they were eligible, and so it left us with everybody in the family being vaccinated, except our youngest. And that was hard for everybody. We felt like we had to be extra careful to make sure that we didn’t bring home a breakthrough case. When school started again in August with masks being optional, we decided, we’re going to do this, and just hope and pray that we’re in the vaccinated group and not the placebo group. And if we’re in the placebo group, we did our part for science.
Is this your first experience with clinical research? What was the process like?
My dad is a pharmaceutical researcher, a chemist. I understand the process of getting drugs approved. I was really impressed by the whole process because it was like a 30-page consent document. And it had, this is the study, this what happened in prior phases, this what we’re doing in this phase, this is the dose, this what you’ll get if you get placebo, and this is what you’ll get if you don’t get placebo, here’s all the risks we found in earlier testing — it was so much information. Reading through that document, I’m very comfortable with our risk profile in this scenario. It was a lot of reading.
What was your experience with Meridian like?
I felt like we were almost partners in research. In everything we did — whether it was needing to reschedule an appointment or anything — I always felt like they were doing their best to take care of us and to make it a good experience for us. I felt like they really appreciated our contribution. It was nice to feel like part of something big. The experience felt very personal — like going to your family doctor. I felt like the people really cared about my child. They were very caring about getting my child’s consent as well as my consent, and that made me feel very comfortable. I felt like we were valued as individuals and not treated as test subjects. To be treated with humanity in that moment — because it’s scary vaccinating your kids for anything — I appreciated that they were so human about it.
What did participating in a research study mean for you and your family?
I am just so proud of my child. I hope that this is something they remember for the rest of their life. My child helped get us out of this pandemic. They could save kids’ lives, being part of this study. I’m really proud of my child for doing it, for understanding and caring. It’s a huge lesson in teaching them to be a good community member. We’ve always wanted to raise our kids to be good community members, and to be part of a caring community — that we take care of each other, that it’s not just about you, and it’s not just about you and your family, that you’re a part of a community and you need to do what you can to help the collective. It’s important to be thoughtful about the world that you exist in. My child doesn’t talk about how they are vaccinated, they talk about how they’re helping other kids. And that’s so cool — so, so cool. It’s such an amazing thing to see my child being willing to do this. They do not like shots. Not at all. Like, doesn’t want to get a flu shot. But they understand that COVID is really serious and that it’s important. Even though they’re afraid of needles, they did it. It’s so brave. It’s just really awesome.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering participating in a clinical trial?
I think that I underestimated how good I would feel about our part in the history of creating this drug. I’ll be honest, I sought this out because I wanted my child to be protected. But the experience of being part of helping other people through this has been life-changing. Feeling like we’ve played a part in helping people be healthy. My degree is in interior design. There aren’t too many opportunities for me to save lives. I think I underestimated how good it will feel to be part of medical history. It feels really good.