How to volunteer for a COVID-19 vaccine study

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A lab technician works during research on coronavirus, COVID-19, at Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutical in Beerse, Belgium in June 17. Janssen Pharmaceutical hopes to begin clinical trials on a potential vaccine for COVID-19 in the middle of the summer. (Virginia Mayo/)

Interested in volunteering to receive an experimental vaccine for COVID-19?

The COVID-19 Prevention Network, which is funded by the National Institute of Health, launched a website for people in the United States looking to volunteer for clinical trials as a few vaccines are ready for phase 3.

Phase 3 is meant to determine how likely it is the vaccine prevents new infections, so the best candidates will be people who haven’t already been exposed to the virus but are at high risk to contract the coronavirus (COVID-19). Earlier trials used smaller groups and were used to determine the proper dose of the vaccine and to monitor any safety concerns.

People interested in volunteering will be asked to fill out a questionnaire meant to determine how likely they are to contract the coronavirus, with questions focusing on race, occupation and how many people they’re exposed to on a regular basis, with an emphasis of recruiting people from communities that have been hit hardest from the virus.

For an example of what to expect if you’re accepted into one of these trials, the first late-stage vaccine trial will randomly assign half its 30,000 volunteers the vaccine made by the biotechnology company, Moderna, while the other half will receive placebos.

Volunteers will receive two injections spaced a month apart, have seven appointments over a two-year period to have blood drawn and their noses swabbed, keep a diary of symptoms over the same time period and be available for weekly check-in phone calls.

The trial is expected to start in late July with at least five other large vaccine trials expected to be run through the COVID-19 Prevention Network and its more than 100 clinical trial sites.

Check out the website to fill out the questionnaire and volunteer.

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Evan Slavit may be reached at eslavit@njadvancemedia.com. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.