Sunday, November 15, 2020

A NWV Nurse's First Hand Account of COVID Vaccine Trial

                I am a nurse, like many, working in the hospital during this pandemic. I see the weight nurses carry as we all continue to adapt to demands of hospital administration as we grapple with patient surges, short staffing, with no reprieve. As a strong supporter of immunizations and public health, active in volunteer groups such as Colorado Parents for Vaccinated Communities, the COVID vaccine is the only light I see at the end of the tunnel. When I saw the JANSSEN ENSEMBLE COVID vaccine trial needing volunteers, I became very interested in helping.

I never anticipated being a nurse in a pandemic. I never volunteered for a medical trial before the ENSEMBLE trial. But I have been working in the hospital during this entire pandemic, and thankfully, luckily, unbelievably almost, have not contracted COVID yet. Once I do, I would be ineligible for the study. I felt like I could not waste my health to miss this opportunity. I reached out via email, and had a health screening on the phone, followed by a pre consent phone appointment that lasted about an hour to ensure I understood my rights, the ethics and legalities of the study, as well as any risks. 

Next, I had an in person appointment in the clinic, where I had more consent discussions, nasal swabs, a pregnancy test, blood work, a physical exam, as well as training and education on the study process. It is a randomized, double blind study, so once it was determined that I was a candidate, I was randomized and the pharmacy made my injection, which had a 50/50 chance of being either placebo or the immunization. 

The next day, I felt crummy and woke up with a low grade fever, muscle aches, and soreness that improved toward the end of the day and resolved completely within 24 hours. I am hopeful this means I received the vaccine! I am in the study for the next two years, voluntarily and able to leave at any time. I have 5 visits in the first year, with 2 in the second year. I will be unblinded at the end, which could be sooner than 2 years. I have an app on my phone by IQVIA to monitor my symptoms and should I contract COVID, a home health agency is contracted with the researchers for extra support. Overall, it was a good experience and I am so glad that I was able to do it!

Elizabeth Brown lives in Colorado where she works as a charge nurse in Women’s Services and a clinical adjunct professor in nursing, while raising three children with her spouse, who is in the military. She is an advocate in all areas of her life- for her children, for her nursing students, for her patients, and for her fellow healthcare staff.  

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your personal experience with the vaccine trial and for being a hero in every sense of the word!