Photo by BP Miller on Unsplash

You may recall that I’m participating in a COVID-19 vaccine trial (I wrote about it here). Well, last week, I got a phone call from the study site asking if I wanted to be unblinded—i.e., learn if I was given the vaccine or placebo. Of course I said yes, and they told me I was given the vaccine!

I had a feeling I was given the vaccine based on my reaction to the second shot: the injection site got very red and very swollen for a few days after, and I had a terrible headache the day after, too. But I didn’t want to make any assumptions and continued living my life as if I had been given placebo.

Now that I know I’m protected, and have been since September, I feel an immense sense of relief. That said, it’s important that I, and everyone else who gets vaccinated, stay vigilant against the virus because:

  • We don’t know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus to other people
  • We don’t know how well the vaccine protects against the variants of the virus
  • We don’t know how long protection lasts

Because there’s still a lot to learn, it’s important that I continue doing the things that stop or slow the spread of an airborne infectious disease like wearing a mask (even when I’m out for a run or walk), social distancing, avoiding crowds and poorly-ventilated places, and washing my hands often. I may just have to get my haircut, though. (I’ve gotten pretty good at at-home haircuts over the past year, but not that good!)

Along with the relief I feel, I’m also feeling really hopeful that we’re on our way to getting enough people vaccinated to really fight this thing and protect those who can’t get vaccinated.

If you’re looking for more information on the vaccine and COVID-19 in general, please visit cdc.gov/coronavirus.

BTW, getting unblinded doesn’t mean I get kicked out of the study. They do blood draws every six months to test for antibodies (though they don’t share those results with participants). Let me know if you have questions about the trial!

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