The One Where My Husband was a Part of a Vaccine Trial

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My husband is the type of guy who’s ready to give you the coat off of his back. As it turns out, he’s also the type of guy who wants to be a living petri dish—yep, he’s a part of a vaccine trial for COVID-19. This isn’t the first time he would jump at the opportunity to serve his fellow man—2 tours in Afghanistan showcase that well. And as a paramedic, you know he’s gung-ho about his patients. But what about me? What did I honestly think about my husband participating in a vaccine trial?

“Are you SURE you want to do this?”

Me: “Hey, Kara just texted me. There’s a vaccine trial in Omaha! It sounds like they need paramedics.”

Husband: “Sure, where’s the info?”

Me: “…really?”

I’m not proud of my reaction. After all, I grew up in Atlanta—that’s CDC country. A few of my high school teachers knew researchers that worked at the CDC. My microbiology teacher worked in those labs! As a science geek, I loved all things research. But to participate in a study? Michael Scott can accurately display my initial reaction:

My husband, however, saw the effects of COVID-19 firsthand. He was ready to place himself in the line of fire to help someone. How could I be anything BUT supportive?

A Third-Party Understanding of the Vaccine Trial

He called, signed up, and then went through an interview to see if he was a viable candidate. He was selected for the Moderna vaccine trial. Within a week, he started the trial—he was among the first 30,000 to begin the trial. He went in for his physical. Once there, he saw many other candidates ready to be testing subjects—just like him. They were:

  • a healthcare worker, still in scrubs
  • a mom with young children,
  • a well-to-do older gentleman.

After his physical, he scheduled the time that he would receive his vaccine. They called to confirm many times since it’s a voluntary study, and he could bow out at any time. He was paid a small amount each time he would go in for a check-up. We affectionately called that our “save the world” funds, which funded a few taco trips.

Vaccine Trial
Yes, they did give him this button. And yes, he did wear it the whole day.

He never did bow out, though. He was proud to show up at the clinic, receive his shot (either the placebo or the actual vaccine—he doesn’t know since it’s double-blind). From there, he carefully took notes in his eDiary app on any symptoms. He received his second injection a month after the first and continued much of the same. He answered check-in phone calls, went to his appointments, called if he ever had questions, and that was it! He continues his nightly routine and writes in his app even after the phone calls and appointments have subsided. 

Well, how do you feel about the vaccine now?

As I’ve said before, I grew up in CDC country. The science behind vaccines astounded me as it did for my parents, who grew up in developing countries. I’m biased towards vaccines as I grew up around them. But again, even I was hesitant. It’s a little more than nerve-wracking, not knowing what might happen during and after a vaccine study. All that said, I’ll be receiving my vaccine as soon as it is available. Here’s my why: the picture that my husband painted of who participated in the study amazed me. 

  • the healthcare worker,
  • the mom,
  • the stranger.

Those people placed themselves in a line of fire so that they could help their fellow workers, their fellow moms, and their fellow strangers. This compassionate act of love marvels me every time I think about it. When I receive my vaccine, I’ll think of the people who served to be on the vaccine trial—like my husband. They’re ordinary people who want to help.

Neidy (pronounced "nay-dee") is a native Georgia girl, but moved to Omaha in 2012 and hasn't looked back. She lives in East Council Bluffs with her husband Zach, her sons Charlie and Eddie, and her daughter Tegan. Neidy met her husband while in college and married him while he was still serving active duty in the Marine Corps. After a brief stint living in San Diego, they decided to move back to her husband's native home in Omaha. Neidy finished her degree at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, pursuing Film Studies, which has cemented her love of Omaha. She's now a homeschooling mom and works at her church as the children's ministry site manager. She also loves a great cup of coffee, exploring various locally-based restaurants, indie movies, experimenting with new recipes, finding new ways to teach her children, and cheering on the Huskers.