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Why I joined a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

Health care workers answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.


Stephaun Wallace, PhD, MS and Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD, MPH explain why they both decided to participate in a COVID vaccine clinical trial.


I think it’s critically important that, you know, we do all that we can to educate communities, not just about COVID-19, but also the associated clinical trials.

And I thought, well, if I enroll in the trial, then people can look at my experience and I can show them what is actually happening when you’re in a vaccine trial.

You know, science is something that I don’t just work in, it’s something that I believe in. And I wanted to do my part to help, you know, in the uncertainty and to, to get us back to some degree of normalcy.

In the study I was in, there were two groups, the placebo group, these are people who got a saltwater shot, so no vaccine and the second group, the vaccine group. So when you enroll in the trial, you are placed in one of these groups, but you and your researcher or your doctor don’t know which group you’re in. So, this is called being blinded.

So, they wait until enough people get COVID and then once you have enough people get COVID, then they look to see, well of those people who got COVID, did they get the vaccine or not?

I was recently unblinded to determine sort of which arm of the study I was in, whether I was in the vaccine arm or the placebo arm. And I learned that I was in the vaccine arm.

And, I’m happy to tell you I was in the vaccine group. But that wasn’t a surprise to me because I had side effects and my side effects matched what we expected from the phase one, the safety part of the studies.

It’s really important for communities to follow the science. There are, you know, Black scientists, there are Black physicians, Black healthcare providers who are involved in this work at all levels who are working to make sure that we’re not left behind in this process as we have been for so many other processes.

This information is shared for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The views expressed are those of the featured medical professional and reflect information available to that professional at time of filming. Always consult a health care provider for any personal health decisions. Click here for vaccine FAQs from the CDC.

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