Up Close Look At What It’s Like To Be In A COVID Vaccine Trial


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – “Honestly when I heard they were looking for volunteers, I thought this is a chance that I could actually do something productive against the pandemic,” says Tom Collins. The 40-year-old south Charlotte resident, like so many of us, felt a bit helpless. But the science teacher jumped into action after hearing a local radio ad asking for volunteers in Charlotte for the Moderna COVID vaccine trial. Collins says, “I kept calling them, I think maybe I was a bit too keen at the start and they hadn’t actually gotten their phone lines up and running, it took me about 4 times to get through.”

His persistence paid off. Collins is now part of the trial of 350 people at Tryon Medical Partners SouthPark office. After signing a waiver, he received two injections of either vaccine or placebo; neither he nor his health care providers know. The science teacher makes a point to talk about the trial. He says, “I like people to realize there’s a lot of us working toward the same thing here. And I’m hopeful that we’re going to get some success.”

Across town, in Huntersville, the Rosedale Health and Wellness Center is one of 150 sites in the world looking for volunteers for its Gilead Remdesivir trial. “We’re one of the only sites in North and South Carolina,” says Steven Haynes, a licensed practical nurse, and the Clinical Research Coordinator at Rosedale. Remdesivir, which President Trump received over the weekend at Walter Reed, is for people who already have COVID. Researchers are studying how it lessens a patient’s symptoms, like TamiFlu does for the flu. Haynes says, “It’s not going to treat it or cure it, it’s just gonna lessen those symptoms for the patient.”

Haynes is looking for adult patients who have COVID to participate. He is aware of the risk of treating contagious patients, but it doesn’t dampen his enthusiasm. Haynes says, “I’m super excited. I’m obviously a little apprehensive. But I know I’m doing it for the right reasons and if something happens, I’m doing it with the best of intentions.”

Both the Moderna vaccine trial and the Remdesivir trial do pay patients to participate. Both Collins and Haynes declined to say how much, but Collins said he was able to purchase a weed wacker with the money. If you’d like to participate in the Remdesivir trial, email shaynes@myrosedalehealth.com or call 704-659-7799.