Knoxville couple participates in COVID-19 vaccine trial

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville couple is giving us an inside look at their journey participating in a COVID-19 vaccine trial. It started when Ken and Shirley Sirois saw an article about a vaccine trial in their local newspaper.

They were interested in volunteering in the study so they called the number listed in the paper. From there, they were asked to go to a doctor’s office in Knoxville for an in-depth screening.

Everything from their physical health to their daily activity was assessed. Their vitals and blood samples were taken to make sure they were in good health. They also had to get COVID-19 tests. You must test negative to participate in the study.

The vaccine came from the biotech company, Moderna.

The trial will last for 2 years. In that time, the couple will receive the vaccine and be closely monitored through a series of doctors visits and tests.

The trial is blind, meaning you don’t know if you’re getting an actual vaccine, or just a placebo. Because of that, results for each person may vary.

“The day after, my arm was really sore at the site of the vaccine. Much much worse than a flu shot ever was to me. She had no symptoms,” Ken said.

There are six visits after the initial screening, but your daily activity is assessed before the vaccine is administered.

“They evaluate your level of exposure. They don’t want people with zero risk. If someone’s quarantined, that wouldn’t be a good test of the vaccine. They wanted to make sure, that you did something like go to the grocery stores, go to church, do some traveling,” Shirley said.

In addition to their visits, Ken and Shirley have to log any symptoms they have in an e-diary.

For their next visit, the couple will be assessed for any changes in their health since getting the vaccines.

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