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"What It Was Like to Participate in a Covid-19 Vaccine Trial"

The New York Times interviewed Kristen Choi, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health assistant professor of health policy and management, about her experience as a participant in Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trial.

Friday, December 18, 2020

This week, as the state grappled with skyrocketing Covid-19 infections, overwhelmed hospitals and increasing deaths, the first parcels containing lifesaving vaccines began to arrive. The vaccine, developed by Pfizer and the German company BioNTech, has been shown to be 95 percent effective.

Kristen Choi, a researcher, nurse and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, signed up for a clinical trial of the vaccine after a recruitment advertisement popped up in her Instagram feed in August. She did not know whether she would receive an active vaccine or a placebo.

She wrote about the experience in JAMA Internal Medicine. The article caused mild alarm in some after she described experiencing adverse side effects that mimicked symptoms of Covid-19. However, far from discouraging people to take the vaccine, Dr. Choi said that she wanted to increase awareness about the potential for side effects and why they are actually a sign that things are working.