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Covid-19 Vaccine Studies May Suffer

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    Posted: November 27 2020 at 7:39am
Covid-19 Vaccine Studies May Suffer as Volunteers Consider Dropping Out
November 27 2020 - 09:29AM
Dow Jones News

Susan Baker volunteered for Johnson & Johnson's vaccine trial to seek protection from Covid-19. For the same reason, she may drop out of the study.

The nurse practitioner at a North Carolina hospital has treated Covid-19 patients. She takes care of people at high risk, including dialysis patients and her husband and father, both of whom have medical conditions. If she catches the virus and spreads it to anyone vulnerable, "I don't know if I could forgive myself," she said.

That is why Ms. Baker may drop out of J&J's vaccine trial. She took an antibody test indicating she received a placebo instead of the actual vaccine in the study. With positive early results for vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. pointing toward use in the U.S. possibly within weeks, she wants to be first in line to get one, though she previously agreed to stick with the study so it could fully vet J&J's injection.

"Anything that could potentially protect you, you want so desperately right now," the 42-year-old said.

Authorization of the most advanced vaccine candidates would mark a turning point in the fight against Covid-19. Yet it might also set back the effort, compromising ongoing vaccine trials, including Pfizer's and Moderna's, by prompting volunteers to quit.

Researchers scheduled two-year trials for the leading vaccines. They didn't plan to tell the volunteers whether they got a shot or placebo until a study ends. Subjects agreed to the terms upon signing up.

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