Kevin Liu

Undergraduate at Stanford, part of Stanford Effective Altruism. Interested in technical AI safety and rationality/compounding life improvements.

https://kliu.io

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Covid 12/10: Vaccine Approval Day in America

A bit late on reporting back, but last week's post convinced me to sign up for a vaccine trial. Happy to report I've joined the Johnson & Johnson ensemble study (which in my area was actually 1 dose, not 2). I decided to go with J&J because a 50% chance of getting the vaccine now seemed net positive, and apparently they're hoping to get results back fairly soon (January-Feb).

A few non-obvious things I noticed:

  • For signing up, I never got an email back after the initial application online. It seems like the play is to sign up on the website, and then call the number of the trial site they give to you. Then, you'll be able to complete their screening form and schedule a first visit.
  • The researchers are actually totally fine with you dropping out to take a different approved vaccine if it happens to become available. Obviously they won't encourage it, but because of ethical guidelines you're free to drop out at any time, and they'll tell you if you got the placebo or not.
  • It's not entirely clear right now whether, if you got the placebo, they'll prioritize giving you the real vaccine when it becomes approved. Looking at the Pfizer vaccine, it seems like Pfizer at least wants to, and another option being considered is a blind crossover, where all study participants are called back in when they would be eligible for a vaccine normally and given the opposite of what they got originally (so either the vaccine, or a placebo).

Overall a nice experience! Happy to answer questions if anyone has any.