Here’s how to volunteer for a COVID-19 vaccine trial


A call for volunteers in clinical trials holds the potential to move vaccines forward to address COVID-19 pandemic.

Vaccine developers need thousands to participate in studies to test efficacy and safety of vaccines in larger samples.

  • The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases launched a new clinical trials network, called the COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network.
  • “We are looking to recruit millions of people into this registry by September,” says Jum Kublin, MD, executive director of the operations program of CoVPN.
  • Researchers expect to roll out five vaccine trials by December, which each call for 30,000 participants. 

“I just thought, ‘I have to help,’” says Stella Sexton, who volunteered in an early vaccine trial to test its safety. 

On the trials network, volunteers conduct a screening registry, asking for personal contact information, demographics, height, weight, race, ethnicity, occupation, exposure to COVID-19, and information about preexisting conditions.

  • The research calls for a broad cross-section of people of varying health levels, ages, and races.
  • Volunteers may be disqualified for being under 18, having past allergic reactions to vaccines, or having a condition that compromises their immune system.
  • The studies call for regular visits to the site for 1 to 2 years, and receiving shots or IVs. 
  • Volunteers are paid.

Stacey Lapp, a senior research specialist at Emory University signed up, saying, “I’m a scientist, and I want to see things move forward.”

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