“Whenever we get to the vaccine, whatever it ends up being, I will be proud to have been part of the process,” said Jennifer Haller.
Haller, a 44-year-old wife and mother of two, signed up to be a “human guinea pig” in a coronavirus vaccine trial, comparing the injection to a “regular flu shot.”
Responding to a call for volunteers on Facebook to take part in the historic trial was something Haller felt compelled to do, becoming the first person in the world to get the vaccine.
“Even at that time we were all feeling so helpless,” she told the UK news outlet while in self-isolation, reported the NY Post. “There was nothing I could do to stop this global pandemic. Then I saw this opportunity come up and thought: ‘Well, maybe there is something I can do to contribute.’”
Taking matters into her own hands, Haller said going through the trial gave her “some sense of control,” despite apprehension from family and friends. “We’re all so out of control and helpless. This just gave me something that I could hold to that could be helpful.”
She, along with her husband have even allowed their infant son to take part in some medical studies. Participants were also informed that they could be more vulnerable to catching COVID-19 afterward, but Haller was still not worried. She describes herself as a “real positive person,” though she mentions that the benefits far outweighed any risks in her mind.
To ease the concerns of her family, Haller assured them that she would not receive any part of the novel coronavirus itself in the vaccine, called mRNA-1273, which had shown promise after being tested on animals.
Haller was asked to keep a daily log of any symptoms for two weeks. “The first day I had a slightly elevated temperature,” she told the outlet. “The second day my arm was pretty sore. But that was it — everything was all right after that. It was as easy as a regular flu shot.”
“Whenever we get to the vaccine, whatever it ends up being, I will be proud to have been part of the process,” she said.
The trial is run by Seattle’s Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. Haller joined 44 other adults for the study, who receive two doses of the experimental vaccine 28 days apart, and then a year of monitoring.