Pupil takes part in Vaccine Trial

Lower Sixth Form pupil Meara James has volunteered to take part in the clinical trial to test the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on children and young people.

She explains how she got involved:

‘When I saw an advert on twitter mentioning that the University of Oxford were running their phase two Covid-19 vaccine trials at the Churchill hospital for those aged 6-17 to test the immune response in children, I knew straight away that it was something that I wanted to be a part of and put myself forward immediately!

The visit started with a blood test looking for antibodies to see whether I had tested positive for Covid-19 previously. Due to the blind nature of the trial, participants don’t know the results of these tests or the vaccine that they are receiving (the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 jab or the control: Meningitis B) until after the trial is complete in a year’s time. All participants will have a second dose either a month or 3 months after the first dose and 5 blood tests will be taken over the course of the year to track the body’s immune response. I am to receive my second dose in May and fill out an e-diary tracking my symptoms for 28 days following the jab.

It was a weird experience having the process filmed by Fergus Walsh and his team at the BBC. Then, being asked by for an interview was nerve wracking but in no way comparable to the embarrassment of seeing myself in the national headlines that evening, followed by numerous stories the next morning on all the major UK news websites.

I wanted to participate in this trial and to be a part of awareness raising especially for the younger participants who would follow me in the later days. I believe that it is my turn to give back to the community after the pressure we have faced over the past year. This is my way of trying to help end the pandemic sooner and ensure that children too can be protected, especially those less fortunate than me who, due to underlying health conditions, have not yet been able to return to school this academic year.’

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