elam vaccine trial
CNN's Stephanie Elam recounts vaccine trial experience
03:46 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

There are three Covid-19 vaccines authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration, and they all required that each vaccine manufacturer conduct clinical trials with tens of thousands of volunteers to ensure that the vaccines are safe and effective.

CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen participated in a clinical trial for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and she found out earlier this morning that she got the placebo.

“After nearly four months of being in the study, I was really excited to find out the result,” said Wen. “As it turns out, I was in the ‘control’ group and received the placebo. Those of us who got the placebo had the opportunity to receive the vaccine today, which I took. It feels great to finally be vaccinated – and since this is the one-dose vaccine, I’m glad to be done”

Wen is an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She’s also the author of the forthcoming book, “Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health.” Here she shares her experience as a clinical trial volunteer.

CNN: Why did you decide to participate in a clinical trial?

Dr. Leana Wen: It has a lot to do with CNN! I was part of the global town halls that (CNN Anchor) Anderson Cooper and (CNN Chief Medical correspondent) Dr. Sanjay Gupta held on coronavirus throughout last spring and summer. Anderson and Sanjay interviewed several guests who talked about why they were taking part in vaccine clinical trials. They spoke about how, during this pandemic, they wanted to do everything they could to help end it sooner. I was particularly moved by people who were part of minority communities, who wanted to join the trials to help inspire others in their communities to take the vaccines once authorized.

Initially, I wasn’t eligible to join the trials, as I’d just had a baby and was nursing, and the trials weren’t enrolling pregnant or breastfeeding people at the time. As soon as I stopped breastfeeding, in late fall, I enrolled in a clinical trial.

Dr. Leana Wen got her vaccine.

CNN: Why did you choose the Johnson & Johnson clinical trial? Was it because it’s just one dose?

Wen: By the time I was eligible to participate, Pfizer and Moderna had finished their enrollment. There was a center near me that was enrolling for the Johnson & Johnson study, so that’s what I went with.

I do like the public health potential of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. We say in public health that the easier the logistics, the more likely to be successful. It’s easier to be “one and done,” in the case of this vaccine. For patients who are really scared of needles, a one-shot vaccine also helps.

I should mention that the Johnson & Johnson trial actually has two parts. The one part of the study that already has r