Neighborly Notions: Why I volunteered for a vaccine study

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By UDCA Resident Andy Pappas

Since the pandemic started, we’ve stayed at home, not seeing family or friends except through Zoom or the phone.  It’s been a rather bizarre way to live; not going to the gym, getting groceries delivered, watching too much TV.  On the plus side, there’s been a lot less  miles on the cars and smaller gas bills.  I also spent the summer climbing around on scaffolding stripping 36 windows down to bare wood and re-glazing, re-calking and repainting.  I have to say the windows look pretty good now.

It’s been tough for me to watch the ineptness of the response to the pandemic and the assault on science.  I’ve always been a fan of science and the ability of humans to solve problems.  This has been an event that requires all of us to participate in the solution, whether it be staying at home, wearing masks around other people and keeping our distance.  This is why on one of my too frequent forays to Facebook I answered a solicitation from Henry Ford Hospital looking for volunteers for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine study.  I had my first visit on November 30th, which lasted 2 ½ hours.   It was pretty painless -getting tested for the virus, going through all the consent forms, signing them and getting an injection.  I had to wait a half hour to make sure I had no adverse reaction.  It is a double – blind study; no one knows if they’re giving you the real vaccine, although I was sure I got it.  That night I had chills and a minor temperature that Tylenol took care of.  After that all that’s required of me is that I answer one question on Monday and Thursday through an app on my phone.  I have to return for visits every so often, in which there is a blood draw to check for antibodies.  It takes about 10 minutes.  Oh, did I mention I get paid for each visit;  $140 for each visit for a total of about a $1000 for the duration of the 2 year study.  Just a little mad money.

Back in February Johnson & Johnson got their emergency use authorization for the vaccine, which enabled me to be un-blinded.  So now it’s official – I did get the real thing.

So that’s my contribution to the pandemic solution.

For the most up-to-date info on where/how to get your COVID-19 vaccine – visit the City of Detroit website.