Lifespan searching for volunteers in upcoming COVID-19 vaccine trial


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Rhode Island’s top hospital group is looking for hundreds of people to take part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial.

Lifespan announced Thursday that it has teamed up with the COVID-19 Prevention Network , which was formed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to find 400 eligible participants for the upcoming trial, which could take place at The Miriam Hospital.

Dr. Karen Tashima, an infectious disease physician at The Miriam Hospital, said if Rhode Island is chosen as a trial location, selected candidates will be compensated for their time.

“They may receive two doses of a vaccine and we will be asking them to tell us how they feel, if they have any side effects,” Tashima explained.

Lifespan said The Immunology Center at The Miriam has a successful track record with vaccines. The hospital has successfully completed trials with drugs for HIV treatment, Hepatitis C and, most recently, testing the use of Remdesivir, a drug that is now used to treat COVID-19.

Tashima said participants would be required to have their blood drawn once a month. She said no one should be worried about contracting the virus from the shot itself.

“We are not giving anybody any live virus, even if it were a weakened virus, we’re not doing that,” she said.

Tashima assures that, if the trial were to happen in Rhode Island, it wouldn’t just be safe, it would also be rewarding.

“If we get a good vaccine, we’re going to call them heroes,” she said. “They will be heroes no matter what.”

Tashima said Rhode Islanders are not the only ones who can participate in the vaccine trial. Residents of nearby Massachusetts or Connecticut can also sign up.

Click here to volunteer »

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