What it’s like to be enrolled in a Covid-19 vaccine trial with your entire family

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Covid-19 vaccine trials are happening across the US. | Cravetiger via Getty Images

Even my teenage brother and 80-year-old grandma have signed up to help with one of the most consequential medical developments in the world.

Clinical trials for the Covid-19 vaccine began in the United States on March 20. Two days prior, I texted my friends that I wanted to sign up as soon as they began enrollment.

“You know how dangerous that is? That’s why they’re trials!” my friend responded, with genuine concern.

But I wasn’t worried. My father is an oncologist, my mother a clinical-trial researcher. In fact, my entire family — my parents, brother, sister, grandmother, and I — signed up for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine trial. I feel safe because I am informed about the risks, because I know ethical considerations have been made, and because I trust my mom and dad’s recommendations as medical professionals — and as my parents.

I get why there’s a perception that human clinical trials are unsafe, or that enrolling in a trial is like consenting to be a lab rat. Medications and vaccines in trials have not yet been FDA-approved, and that idea alone is scary. How good can…


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