I want to talk about why you should enroll in a COVID vaccine trial, despite the fact that we already have emergency use authorization vaccines that you can receive for COVID outside of a research trial.
I’m Dr. Jeff Kingsley and welcome to another edition of Riding in Cars with Researchers. People enter research for lots of different reasons: (1) because they can’t get a given therapy outside of a research trial or maybe there’s no therapy on the market. And so if they want to try anything, they would have to enter a research trial; (2) sometimes patients do it because of all of the additional care that it gives to the patients that they don’t receive outside of the research arena; (3) sometimes patients do it for purely altruistic reasons – they do it for the betterment of humanity.
I remember a woman who entered a research trial of mine 15 years ago, and she entered the research trial because her son was in the army and was currently stationed in the Middle East, and he was giving of himself to save a population. So she entered the research trial in honor of her son. It’s not uncommon that people enter research for altruistic reasons. Let’s say today you are a healthcare worker. Well, you can get a vaccine that already has emergency use authorization from your local hospital or health department in the US. I’m doing COVID vaccine trials right now and will continue to do COVID vaccine trials. And about once a day, I have a healthcare worker who will come in and screen for the vaccine trial and every single time I’ll stop and I’ll say, “you’re a nurse, or you’re a physician, or you work over in the hospital. Why are you choosing to enter a research trial?“ And every single one of them has said, in other words, altruism. I had a woman yesterday who said, “I want to help us get smarter and help us get out of this. I’ve always been curious what it would be like to participate in a research trial”. I had a gentleman last week who said, “I want to help get more EUAs (emergency use authorizations) through the FDA. That’s how we get more vaccines available to the public”. Astounding! They are right – research is a wonderful way of getting out of this pandemic.
We have a supply and demand problem. We have more people that need vaccines than we have vaccine available. It will take Pfizer and Moderna time to continue to manufacture vaccines and ramp up manufacturing a vaccine. But every time a new company gets an emergency use authorization, you’re effectively instantaneously adding manufacturing facilities around the planet.
Pfizer can only manufacture at this rate. Moderna can manufacture at this rate. You add another company you immediately stair-step the amount of vaccine available to the planet. And, instantaneously, you’ve made a difference in rapidly being able to vaccinate more people, which is how we save lives. It’s also how we reopen economies and get out of the mess that we’re in.
So I would say to you that the reason you should still consider a COVID vaccine trial, despite the fact that there are EU approved vaccines, is because of altruism – because it helps all of humanity, you’ll get fantastic healthcare, and you’ll also be paid for your participation.
Thanks for riding along!
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