Tales from the Trials

Skipton’s Head of Financial Advice, Matthew Leach, shines the spotlight on one of our colleagues taking part in the Oxford University vaccine trial.

I know for me, it’s hearing of the positive stories – from people volunteering, baking cakes to helping out in the local community – that have brightened up my days over the past few months. We’re a pretty tight knit community here at Skipton Building Society. Helping our local communities is a key part of our mutual values. And we’d like to share one of our volunteering stories with you.

Susanne Connick, Financial Advice Regional Manager at Skipton, is taking part in the trial at Oxford University to try and find a vaccine against coronavirus. I caught up with Susanne to find out about her involvement in the trial so far.

Susanne is one of the 1,102 people taking part in Oxford University’s trial for a potential vaccine against COVID-19. The study aims to assess whether healthy people can be protected from the virus. If the vaccine is successful in these human trials, then the government hopes to make up to 30 million doses available by September.

Susanne Connick

When the country entered lockdown Susanne joined some local community groups on Facebook to understand how she could help her neighbours. It was through one of these pages she became aware of the trial being undertaken by Oxford University – due to the travel restrictions that were in place, the study was calling for volunteers from the local area. With a bit more information available in the press, Susanne decided to look further into the trial and see if she could become involved.

Susanne told us, “At the end of the day, we’re all in this together and without the development of a vaccine it is hard to understand how we will be able to return to the lifestyles we are used to. I felt I should help if I could. I initially registered my interest and waited to see if I met the criteria.”

After a couple of weeks Susanne was called to go for a full health assessment. During this the research team explored her medical history and carried out a lot of tests to make sure it was safe for her to be involved. Susanne stated, “They explained the possible side effects, and the time that would need to be allocated for follow up appointments. I have the option to opt out of the trial at any stage should I wish to do so.”

I received my vaccine on the 1st May. Half of the volunteers have received the trial vaccine and half have received a licensed pre-existing vaccine for meningitis as a control vaccine for comparison. I will not know which version I have received until the end of the trial.

“It’s been just over a week now since I received my vaccination. I did feel quite unwell within the first 48 hours with a temperature and flu like symptoms but have been fine since then. I am completing a daily e-diary which updates the team on any symptoms and side effects. I’ll have my next follow up tests at the end of this month.” To see if the vaccine is successful further tests will be conducted at four weeks and then again six months after the vaccination. These will look at the immune response of the body.

Susanne concludes, “Should the vaccine prove to be successful an agreement is already in place with a major pharmaceutical manufacturer to start production quickly. So here’s hoping for all of us that it is a success and will contribute towards a reduction in COVID-19 cases and a move back towards normal life.”

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