COVID-19 Vaccine, what’s it like to be on the trial?

Name: Lois Clay Baker

Age: 26

Occupation: Final Year Medical Student, St George’s University of London – with the ambition of becoming an NHS GP

In summary: Lois is a healthy, active and ongoing participant of the six-month Oxford University Covid-19 Vaccine Trial, and is willing and able to share her experience to date.

About Lois’s experience as a Covid-19 vaccination trial participant

As a fit and healthy healthcare worker, Lois was invited to take part in the Oxford University Covid-19 vaccination trial for a six-month period, which started in May 2020, which has since been extended. Health workers are an important group as they are working in close proximity to the virus on a daily basis.

So far, Lois has been through all relevant health checks to ensure she was suitable for testing and has since been vaccinated against one of two viruses – Covid-19 or Meningitis – she does not know which. The reason behind 50 percent of trial participants receiving a different vaccination, is to create a control group to assess the impact of those who have received the Covid-19 vaccination, and those who have not. It is also to assess the placebo effect – to identify side effects effectively.

After completing an exposure questionnaire, and being vaccinated, Lois was required to keep an electronic diary, taking her temperature daily and updating the diary with any recognised symptoms and any medication she took up to three weeks after receiving the vaccination. This was checked by trial staff. Lois was also required to go back to the vaccination site for regular health checks.

Side effects or concerns – a sensible outlook

Being a medical student and having a good understanding of how vaccines are created, tested, and brought to market, Lois had no concerns about being a trial participant. Lois has had no side effects since having the vaccination and has no cause for concern about any adverse reactions.

As the vaccination used in the trial was a version of an existing, effective vaccination used to vaccinate people against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) during the outbreak in 2002-2004, Lois was confident in the vaccine, and her knowledge of the pharmaceutical company behind the trial, and the way the trial was being delivered also gave her confidence to participate.

A soundbite from Lois:

“It’s great to hear that so many people in the UK are keen to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, however there’re still 22 percent of the UK who aren’t planning to have it themselves, and a further 56% of parents who don’t plan to vaccinate their children.

“The role of the Government in educating the nation on the safety and benefits of the Covid-19 vaccine will be an interesting one to watch. As a medical student, I have a good understanding of the way vaccines are brought to market, by reputable pharmaceutical companies, but I appreciate that not everyone is as informed as I am. A simple infographic explaining the process would be really effective in communicating how safe the vaccine is.”

About myGP’s vaccination study

With news of a Covid-19 vaccine being available in the UK by the end of the year, the UK’s largest appointment booking and healthcare management app, ‘myGP’, has revealed that 78 percent of the UK’s adult population are opting to have the vaccination, as soon as it is available.[1]

Home to almost 2 million NHS patients who book their GP appointments and manage their health via the app, myGP’s study has revealed that almost four in five adults (78%) are planning to have the Covid-19 vaccine once it’s available, with a lower 44 percent of parents planning to put their children forward to do the same.[2]

In terms of age, unsurprisingly it is older generations who are most open to receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, with 86 percent over-55s willing to have it done, and rising to nine in 10 (90 %) for over-65s.

To explore the intentions of parents who are not planning to vaccinate their children, myGP delved deeper with a further poll of 180 UK parents, which revealed the main reasons for parents shunning the Covid-19 vaccine.  When asked why they would not vaccinate their children, the main reason given by most parents (60%) was the speed at which the impending vaccination had been delivered.

The second biggest reason, which almost a quarter of parents gave, was that they didn’t consider their children being ‘high risk’ enough to require a vaccine, following widespread reports that most young people without underlying health issues do not experience complications after contracting Covid-19.

A more confident 11 percent of parents would prefer their children to catch Covid-19, so they can effectively build-up valuable antibodies to protect themselves in the future.

Interestingly, the MMR vaccine and Autism debate appears to have taken a back seat during parents’ decision making around the latest vaccine, with only 3 percent of parents referencing it as a barrier.

Top 5 reasons preventing parents from vaccinating their children against Covid-19:

  • The Covid-19 vaccine has been developed too quickly – 60%
  • Children are not high risk enough to need a vaccine against Covid-19 – 24%
  • I would prefer for my child to get the antibodies naturally – 11%
  • Concerns around side-effects (MMR & autism debate) – 3%
  • My child(ren) can decide if they want the vaccine when they are old enough – 2%

Dr Harriet Leyland myGP’s Clinical Advisor comments on the importance of effective communication for patients eligible for the vaccine:

“It’s encouraging to see such a large majority of UK adults planning to have the vaccine when it’s available to them. The roll-out will start with elderly care home patients and all medical staff, followed by patient groups based on age – with the eldest coming first. NHS GPs are positive about the rollout and are gearing up to deliver the vaccines. It is an exciting step in the right direction, for all.

 “It is important now for us all to remain patient, and ensure we watch out for updates regarding when we are eligible for a vaccine. The UK media will share general updates on what is happening and when, and GP practices will communicate with patients directly as and when the vaccine is available.

“With the vaccine coming in two doses set three weeks apart, it’s really important that patients remember to return for the second dose – digital reminders via a Smartphone will play a major part in this process. Today over two million NHS patients book appointments and manage their health via the myGP app, who will receive a push notification or text message when their Covid-19 vaccine is available  – everyone can access this service, for free.”

Dr Yasmin Razak, Clinical Director of the Neohealth Primary Care Network and a working GP and mum comments on parents’ decisions regarding vaccinating their children:

“Naturally, we are always more cautious when it comes to our children’s health, over our own, so the lower percentage of parents planning to vaccinate their children is no real surprise.

“The reasons given by parents who aren’t planning to vaccinate their children echo the comments I am hearing from parents I meet in the practice. Every parent has a choice, and the closer we get to a vaccine being available, clearer advice for parents will become available – this advice will enable us to identify if our children are at greater risk of complications should they contract Covid-19, and therefore will enable parents to make the right decision.

“I would urge parents to keep an open mind until more information is available, and when it is available, to trust the experts’ advice.” 


For more information, images, case studies or to arrange an interview, please contact Lisa Malyon at or call 07525204402.

About iPLATO’s myGP

  • Created by health tech company iPLATO Healthcare, myGP is the UK’s largest independent healthcare management app with over 2 million NHS patient users, and 6,500 medical practices right across the country using the app / platform.
  • The myGP app was created to give NHS patients improved, and more convenient access to healthcare. By making all services available in one app, users can manage and navigate their own healthcare quickly and efficiently, whilst seeing all the options available to them of which they may not have previously been aware.

myGP is the health app of choice for over two million NHS patients. Its most popular patient features include:

  • Booking appointments – Get access to health professionals at the tap of a button, including GPs, practice nurses, or other relevant and available health experts. No need to call and speak to a receptionist – it can all be managed privately, in-app.
  • Request repeat prescriptions – Putting an end to writing a letter or completing a form at the practice, patients can request repeat prescription in seconds, in-app for click-and-collect at the chosen high street pharmacy of for home deliver (popular during the pandemic)
  • Helping others access healthcare – Parents have registered hundreds of thousands of dependents that they help access the healthcare they need.
  • Access to triage and remote consultation services – myGP allows patients to access online consultation services (triage and video consultation) from within the app or provided by NHS approved providers such as eConsult and DoctorLink.
  • Medication reminders – A handy tool to remind patients to take the required medication at the correct, regular intervals.
  • Weight and blood pressure monitoring – a simple tracker for weight and blood pressure, helping people keep an eye on their physical health, and BMI.

[1] Research study of 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ conducted by OnePoll on behalf of myGP between 3rd and 7th July 2020.

[2] Facebook Poll of 180 parents in August 2020.