Coronavirus: Student, 26, explains what it’s like to volunteer in Oxford vaccine trial

Lois Clay Baker, 26, from London, is an ongoing participant of the six-month Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine trial (Image: myGP)

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With coronavirus cases around the world now at over 52 million, scientists have been working around the clock to develop a vaccine.

A vaccine created at the University of Oxford has been tipped as the front-runner in the fight against Covid-19, and now one volunteer from the trial has revealed exactly what it’s like.

Lois Clay Baker, 26, from London, is an ongoing participant of the six-month Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine trial.

As a final year medical student, Ms Baker was invited to take part in the trial back in May.

She said: “I took part because I'm a medical student and I'm interested in global health/public health, so I was excited to be part of this research even if its only in a very small way.

“When the pandemic first started I saw some very unwell patients in hospital and I knew this vaccine was going to be very important, and there was a big demand for volunteers early on.

Lois joined the trial having seen the detrimental effects Covid-19 was having on many of her patients
(Image: myGP)

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“The trial was specifically looking for healthcare workers at that point so I think for me and a lot of the healthcare workers involved it was a no-brainer. We saw the effects of Covid and wanted to help in any way that we could.”

At the start of the trial, Ms Baker completed an exposure questionnaire before being vaccinated for either Covid-19 or for the control, meningitis – she does not know which.

Since then, she has kept an electronic diary, taking her temperature daily and noting any symptoms and medication she has taken.

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While many participants were likely worried about any potential side effects, Ms Baker says that she didn’t have any concerns going into the trial.

“I didn't really have any concerns about the trial,” she said. “They explained it was based on an existing vaccine and had very recently gone through extensive safety testing.

“Maybe I was a little bit nervous just before I got it, but to be honest when I got the vaccine it was really the height of the first wave so I was more worried about the rest of the pandemic happening.

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“I actually think seeing some very unwell Covid patients in hospital put it into perspective a bit.”

The Oxford University trial is currently in Phase III, with results expected any week now.

If a vaccine does become available, it could start rolling out before Christmas, according to Matt Hancock.

A recent study by myGP revealed that 78% of the UK’s adult population are opting to have the vaccination.

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