Unblinded

Most people have had their first vaccine. Apart from teachers under 55 of course. Angry is far too small a word to describe how I feel about that.

I was offered my vaccine last week. A lovely lady from my GP rang me and asked if I’d be OK to come in at 10 o’clock on Saturday morning.

But of course, it’s not as simple as that. I’ve been taking part in clinical trials for a Covid vaccine since last November.

These are double-blind trials, which means I don’t know whether I’ve been given the real thing or a placebo, and neither does the team administering it. I go to the trial centre every two months for a blood test, so last time I was there I asked what I should do if I was invited for the ‘normal’ vaccine. They said I should call them, and they would unblind me and then advise me accordingly.

So that’s what I did. I called them, and they asked me to go over for a blood test, then they would process the paperwork and then they’d be able to tell me if I’d had the real thing or not.

I drove over to Lancashire the following morning, answered the usual questions about side effects and whether I’d had any Covid symptoms, and had the blood test.

And it turns out – I’ve had the real thing. Two injections, three weeks apart.

Which was the standard regime for all the Covid vaccines until someone arbitrarily decided that the gap could be longer. There is of course no evidence to suggest that a longer gap won’t be effective. Equally, there’s no evidence to suggest that a longer gap will be effective. That’s because there is no evidence AT ALL – a longer gap has never been trialled. Someone somewhere is taking a huge gamble.

Once I’d been unblinded and it was confirmed that I’d had the vaccine, their advice was that I shouldn’t now have the normal vaccine because, and I quote, ‘We don’t know how the two vaccines will react to each other’.

Remember that, if they try to give you the ‘other’ vaccine for your second dose. Again – no evidence to say they will react badly, simply no evidence at all. Someone somewhere is in a Government meeting with fingers firmly crossed behind their back saying, ‘Oh, it’ll be fine, I’m sure it’ll be fine.’

Yes, I’m pleased I’ve already had it. It feels odd to think that I’ve been immune since December without realising. I have my card that says I’ve had the full vaccine, which is good. I was able to call the GP back and cancel my appointment, so someone else will have had theirs instead. But it also feels odd. It feels like somehow I’ve inadvertently pushed myself to the front of the queue.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Joan Mudd says:

    Good to hear from you and also good to hear that you have been fully “done”. I think that there is quite a bit of “fingers crossed” in this process but whatever, it is certainly better than the alternative of no vaccine at all. I’ve had one with the next one in May. Onwards and upwards. XX

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    1. Absolutely better than the alternative. xx

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  2. SisterStay says:

    Welcome back!! Fancy you having been vaccinated all this time and not knowing it!! Far from having jumped the queue, you actually laid your health on the line in the interests of everyone else who subsequently received the tested vaccine. So thanks for that. I think they actually did carry out different spaced trials of the AstraZeneca vaccine discovering that a longer gap of two to three months led to a greater immune response, but they didn’t do it with the Pfizer vaccine. Personally, I am happy to wait longer between doses (although I’ve not had a first one yet) so that more people might be covered sooner. A UK trial in mixed vaccines has been launched – because apparently this approach gave greater immunity to Ebola – but they’re not going to consider introducing it before the Summer, if at all. My greater concern is that we are protecting ourselves whilst other countries remain unprotected.

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    1. Thank you!! I can’t find any reference to any trials with longer gaps – the closest I’ve got is a mention back in February that ‘All trials aimed to administer the second dose at 4 weeks, but some participants received theirs as distant as 12 weeks’ – which implies to me that the longer gaps were somewhat accidental rather than planned for. I hope their gamble pays off – but I do think it’s a gamble.
      I don’t think the Government had much choice – giving the majority of the population a little bit of immunity quickly had to be better than giving half those people full immunity and making everyone else wait – but it’s not how the vaccines were designed to work so it comes with an element of risk.
      Hope you get yours soon!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. SisterStay says:

        Tbh, I thought it was accidental too! Here’s a reference in the BMJ from January. Looks like it was only carried out on a small trial group. https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n18

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