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PA
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UK News

Meet the vicar who's signed up for Covid vaccine trials

by Marcus Jones

It's been an interesting few months for Rev Lisa Morgan.

This summer, instead of celebrating her ordination with hundreds in a cathedral, she took part in a service with just five people in attendance.

While she's been able to support those in her community who've struggled during lockdown, she was left feeling like I she wanted to do more.

Awaiting a move from her home in Swansea to a new parish in Llandrindod Wells, Morgan spotted an opportunity to play her part in this pandemic when she saw an advert looking for volunteers to take part in trials for a coronavirus vaccine.

"I'm not an NHS worker. I've not been able to assist in that way," she told Premier. "But when I saw that the NHS were looking for people to trial the new vaccine, come the autumn, I volunteered because I feel that as a Christian, I should do my bit to try and help people, especially people who are medically vulnerable.

"I actually feel that by doing something like this, we're putting our Christianity into action. We're saying: 'This is a way that we can help support other people in our country'. For myself, if I got Coronavirus - maybe it would be bad, maybe it wouldn't but there are some people for whom it would possibly be a death sentence. This is something that might prevent that."

At this stage, the vicar has just signed up. She's waiting to hear whether she'll be selected for trials due to take place in the autumn.

Scientists at Oxford University have been working on a vaccine for a number of months. This week results from a recent study showed the vaccine to be safe and to cause minimal side effects.

Boris Johnson tweeted that the results are "very positive news" but cautioned that there are no guarantees.

England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, tweeted: "This is encouraging news.

"A long way to go, but a testament to the remarkable scientific effort in the UK and around the world to combat Covid-19."

Recent trials included 1,077 healthy adults aged 18-55 and took place in five UK hospitals in April and May.

The most commonly reported reactions were fatigue and headache, but some participants also reported pain at the injection site, muscle ache, malaise, chills, feeling feverish, and high temperature.

For Rev Morgan, putting herself through these side effects would be worth it.

"Everything's a risk. If I step outside the door and cross the road, there's risk. I figured that the risk is greater from the various diseases that we're very blessed to have vaccines against, as opposed to the vaccine itself. I don't think you can ever live in a risk free environment and certainly, as a Christian, we're not here to hide ourselves from harm - we're here to go and witness.

There is still no time frame being given for a vaccine, although the government has already pre-ordered from the Oxford scientists as well as two other pharmaceutical companies.

Encouraging Christians to pray for the process, Rev Morgan said: "Pray for the trials. Pray for those people who are looking into this: the scientists, the researchers, the volunteers, and the people recruiting volunteers and let's pray that we will actually get a vaccine which is effective against this very unpleasant disease."
 

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