CHARLOTTE, N.C. — COVID-19 vaccine research participants are continuing to help scientists learn more about the vaccine.
Their commitment didn’t stop with them getting their shots. Shirley Cress Dudley, 58, became interested in participating in a Moderna vaccine clinical trial after seeing an advertisement online.
“It was an opportunity to help advance research. This has been a year for pivoting, a year for learning new things and expanding businesses and moving along with science and technology, and that is part of the vaccine trials. It’s moving forward quickly and doing what needs to be done,” Cress Dudley says.
The entrepreneur committed to participate in the study for 23 months at Tryon Medical Partners.
“I live at home alone and couldn’t see anything negative about it. The opportunity, a 50% chance to get vaccinated, was wonderful,” Cress Dudley says.
In the early fall, she received two doses of the Moderna vaccine. At the time of it, she didn’t know if she had received a placebo.
“I had mild reactions both times so I thought and hoped I was given the real vaccine,” Cress Dudley says.
In December, Cress Dudley learned she had received the vaccine. Before then, she had check-ups and frequent appointments.
“They did a COVID test, blood test. They checked on me weekly, and I came in monthly,” Cress Dudley says.
Her health continues to be monitored with check-ups through an app, calls, and appointments. However, they are not as frequent as in the beginning of the trial.
As an added bonus, she was able to visit her newly born granddaughter after taking a COVID-19 test. In addition, she recently traveled internationally with vaccinated neighbors after taking required COVID-19 tests before leaving and coming back to the United States.
She continues her outdoor walks with vaccinated neighbors, wearing a mask for part of it.
“It just gives an extra layer of protection, but we are still not going to events together and that sort of thing,” Cress Dudley says.
Cress Dudley, who continues to wear masks in public and wash hands frequently, encourages everyone to get vaccinated. As a research participant, she receives compensation and 14 days of paid care if she gets sick.
If it weren’t for the trial, Cress Dudley would have been part of group 4 of the vaccine rollout, which will start vaccination process next week.