She is 49. An art director who lives in Missouri. Wife. Mother. Sister and aunt to health care workers. And new to clinical research. A much-needed clinical research volunteer right now.
She is also scared. And stressed. And going a little COVID-crazy. Just like the rest of us. About the coronavirus. About this pandemic. About information. And misinformation. About safety. About cures and prevention.
And then, she saw a story on ABC about clinical research studies. Even a clinical research study in Missouri. So on her own, she sought out more information until she finally found out that one of the very first two COVID-19 vaccine clinical research studies nationwide was happening in Kansas City, Missouri. And she was one of the very first people to call the Center for Pharmaceutical Research, an AMR company. According to Heather, she was in the next day for her first appointment.
“I felt I had to do something. I feel a lot less anxious because I can help and am trying to do something. I’m guessing that’s how everyone feels right now,” Heather explained why she volunteered for AMR’s COVID-19 vaccine study.
New to clinical research, Heather did not know what to expect. In fact, she did not even realize until much later in the process that most clinical research studies reimburse volunteers for their time and travel. A small "thank you" for their volunteerism.
“I was a little anxious (on my first appointment) because you just didn’t know what to expect but the nurse was very informative and answered all my questions. And when I met Dr. Ervin… he’s so enthusiastic about this study and believes in it so much that it really rubs off on you. It makes sense. Because this is such a bizarre time and it’s so scary. To be able to actually do something – it helps me a little bit.”
"I have been pro-clinical research but I thought it was risky. But these people do it all the time and they know what they're doing. And there is a lot of testing beforehand. I definitely see it differently now."
Heather is a fan of science and medicine and the impact both make on keeping us healthy. She is also a concerned mother, sister and aunt.
"I have health care workers in my family. My older sister is a nurse. My nephew is a pharmacist and my niece is a nurse. I have a daughter in her senior year of high school. It's been so hard trying to explain all of this to her. I want things to get to normal so that she can go to college. And I feel like this is the only way I can help during this pandemic."
Now a volunteer for our COVID-19 vaccine clinical study, Heather told us that she will continue to volunteer in clinical research - especially for vaccine clinical studies. When she was at our AMR Kansas City clinical research location, she learned we are also conducting an Ebola clinical study. And that our award-winning AMR Kansas City has conducted hundreds of vaccine studies.
"I was amazed they had tested Ebola in Kansas City. It's so cool! The courage of the people that did that trial is amazing," she expressed.
The Vaccine Itself
"The inject was fine. I was less sore than with my flu shot this year. A few years ago, I had to have a series of vaccines before I traveled for work. This (vaccine injection) was much easier. And people keep asking me 'Are you okay? How do you feel? Do you have any side effects?' It's fine. I'm fine. It's been great," shared Heather.
"I believe in science. My experience with clinical research has been really positive. The staff is warm and friendly and professional. I don't really want to go places right now. But I felt very safe. They're doing social distancing. Everyone has a mask on. It's been a very comfortable experience," Heather assured.
Thank you to Heather and all the volunteers who have offered to help fight / stop / end the coronavirus. It is YOU who are bringing tomorrow's medicines to us... today. And we consider you heroes.
We are all going a tad COVID-crazy. We all need people. Our family. Our co-workers. Our friends. But we also need people like Heather and the countless others ready and willing to volunteer for a clinical research trial for the greater good.
We thank you all. You are the unsung heroes in keeping us healthy and strong.
We are in this. Together.