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COVID-19: This man volunteered to be a subject for experimental vaccine

COVID-19: This man volunteered to be a subject for experimental vaccine

31-year-old medical student and Ph.D. candidate Sean Doyle knew the potential side effects of a normal injection. However, he has yet to know the side effects of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. This injection has yet to be tested on humans. Receiving the injection in his right shoulder at Emory University Hospital, the real answer about the risks would remain unknown.

Sean Doyle volunteers to be a subject for an experimental COVID-19 vaccine.

Doyle volunteered to help us answer those very questions. During this pandemic, the urgency to hopefully create a vaccine remains understandable. To say that finding a vaccine remains crucial would be a huge understatement. In just a few months, the coronavirus has spread across the globe and has taken more lives than some wars and natural disasters combined.

This has also proved that no one on the planet remained immune to this, the nature of a novel or new coronavirus. Without enough time to perform adequate safety trials, devastating side effects could start to emerge. Safety has always been the number one reminder during this pandemic. It has also become more apparent in creating the vaccines in an experiment.

Photo from CNN Health

Desperately needing the vaccine despite risky side effects.

The risk of causing another illness, or possibly death, in an otherwise healthy person, could haunt anyone who remains involved in responding against COVID-19. Executive Director of WHO Dr. Mike Ryan even had a briefing the month before, expressing the need to test new and experimental vaccines.

“Many people are asking, ‘Well why do we have to test the vaccines? Why don’t we just make the vaccines and give them to people?’ Well the world has learned many lessons in the mass use of vaccines and there’s only one thing more dangerous than a bad virus, and that’s a bad vaccine. We have to be very, very, very careful in developing any product that we’re going to inject into potentially most of the world population. We have to be very, very, very careful that we first do no harm. So that’s why people are being careful.”

Being a subject of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine.

In an interview with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Sean revealed his thoughts on why he volunteered to be the subject of an experimental vaccine.

“With this particular vaccine, no one knows what the chances of that are. But those potential risks are outweighed, I think, by the potential benefits of this vaccine, because right now there are no great preventative measures for containing this virus.”

Not entirely new to being a subject for an experimental vaccine.

Doyle had already considered the side effects of such an experiment. However, he had already done this before with the Ebola vaccine in 2017. Much like this one, he also raised his hand to be among the first to be injected with the Ebola vaccine, watching as the first patient in America was treated at his medical school, Emory University Hospital.

“I remember the fear that was surrounding both the outbreak in West Africa. The fear for the folks there and their health, but also fear about whether or not the virus could get out from West Africa and spread to other places around the world.”

Putting himself at risk for the greater good.

While we try to contain the outbreak before the vaccine trial began, Doyle knew he took part in something that could help many people. This way, a vaccine could also be deployed as quickly as it can.

“There were conversations that I had with friends and family. They all expressed concerns about getting an experimental vaccine like this where no one knows what the side effects might be. But they trusted my judgment.”

Read more of Sean Doyle’s conversation with Dr. Sanjay Gupta here.
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