“How do you sign up for a trial? Who is eligible? Will you be paid? Could an experimental shot protect you? Could you get sick? Who covers the costs if you do? Here’s what you need to know.” H. Murphy, The New York Times
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: Do You Want to Be a Vaccine Volunteer? By Heather Murphy, The New York Times [Note: read this article in its entirety]
“Maybe you are an altruist looking for a way to help fight the coronavirus. Maybe you are hoping to be among the first to try an experimental vaccine. Or maybe you are just bored or could use a few hundred dollars.
Whatever your reasons, scientists, bioethicists and current volunteers say participating in a vaccine trial can be meaningful. And without hundreds of thousands of volunteers, there will be no vaccine for anyone.
But you may be surprised by the commitment and risks that a trial entails. Here’s what you need to know.”
How do I find a trial?
“A number of sites maintain lists of coronavirus vaccine trials. The Covid-19 Prevention Network site, created by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, helps connect volunteers to Phase 3 studies.”
How do I increase my chance of early access to an experimental vaccine?
“There’s no guarantee that you’ll actually be protected from the coronavirus at any phase of a vaccine trial, no matter how hyped the product has been… you might not get the vaccine at all. It might be an inactive placebo or an alternative intervention. Researchers have to give these to some subjects to create a control group, said Nir Eyal, the director of the Center for Population-Level Bioethics at the Rutgers School of Public Health.”
How much will I get paid?
“It could be a few hundred or a few thousand dollars. It varies by the trial… Organizers try to avoid creating a financial incentive.”
I have antibodies. Am I now immune?
“People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may last in the body only two to three months.”
What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?
“Employers have to provide a safe workplace with policies that protect everyone equally. And if one of your co-workers tests positive for the coronavirus, the C.D.C. has said that employers should tell their employees — without giving you the sick employee’s name — that they may have been exposed to the virus.”
What if I’m willing to be infected with the coronavirus to speed up the science?
“Across the world, a lively debate is underway about that. This type of vaccine research is called a ‘challenge trial,’ which entails giving volunteers a vaccine then deliberately exposing them to the virus to see if they end up infected.
The approach is controversial because Covid-19 has no cure and can be fatal. But it is also tantalizing because it promises to dramatically speed up research.”
Dr. Eyal believes that “he most ethical way to conduct these trials is to focus on young, healthy volunteers who meet criteria that suggest they’d be unlikely to develop a severe case of Covid-19. There are no guarantees, however, which is why some experts are adamantly opposed to challenge trials… But if you are not deterred, and want to help advance the science, the site 1 Day Sooner invites people to sign up for future challenge trials.”
2020 Election Live Updates: Biden Visits Kenosha and Meets With Jacob Blake’s Family
Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill Biden, arrived in Milwaukee on Thursday, where they met with the parents of Jacob Blake, who was shot and paralyzed by a Kenosha police officer. Credit: Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times
“Mr. Biden met privately with several of Mr. Blake’s closest relatives for an hour as soon as his plane landed in Milwaukee. He then convened a community meeting at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, which is still reeling after the shooting of Mr. Blake and subsequent protests that saw sporadic outbreaks of violence and looting.
“Hate only hides,” Mr. Biden said, as he described the ways, in his view, Trump has emboldened bigots. But he predicted that the country had reached an “inflection point.”
“Get off Twitter,” Mr. Biden scolded Trump in a speech on Wednesday, urging him to engage with congressional leaders to help support schools and pass an economic aid package.”
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos
Directions: Examine the title of the article. Examine any photos, then create a list of words and ideas that you and your group members think might be related to this article.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Maybe you are an altruist looking for a way to help fight the coronavirus.
- Some people are hoping to be among the first to try an experimental vaccine.
- Without hundreds of thousands of volunteers, there will be no vaccine for anyone.
- You may be surprised by the commitment and risks that a trial entails.
- Typically they will monitor you and a few dozen other subjects closely after each dose.
- There are three phases for a trial.
- Some volunteers will receive the experimental vaccine.
- Sometimes a vaccine will generate an immune response.
- An immune response does not mean the vaccine was sufficient to protect anyone.
- Non of the volunteers will know if they are receiving the vaccine or a placebo.
Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage
Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical error. Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.
- A number of site maintain lists of coronavirus vaccine trials.
- There are three primary phases of a vaccine trial.
- At the time you receive the vaccine, the developer won’t know if it prevents Covid-19.
- Phase 1 trials are appealing to some volunteers.
- Phase 2 is bigger and typically involves a few hundred people.
- Only a Phase three trials allows researchers to study if their vaccine works.
- There’s no guarantee that you’ll actually be protected from the coronavirus at any phase.
- The approach is controversial because Covid-19 has no cure and can be fatal.
- The approach also promises to dramatically speed up research.
Identify The Speakers
Directions: Read the following quotes from speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.
- “There’s no guarantee that you’ll actually be protected from the coronavirus at any phase of a vaccine trial, no matter how hyped the product has been.”
- “Organizers try to avoid creating a financial incentive. So even if they could pay much more, they don’t.”
- “It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it’s highly unlikely that it would be possible in a short window of time from initial infection or make people sicker the second time.”
- “If the money seems extraordinarily attractive to you, think again… You don’t want to let compensation blind you to the need to pay attention to the risks.”
Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing
Directions: Have students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.
- What are some reasons a person might want to volunteer for the Covid-19 tests?
- According to the article what happens if there are too few or no volunteers for these tests?
- How many volunteers is the company Moderna looking for?
- How many phases are there for a vaccine trial?
- Why is Phase 1 trial the most popular among volunteers?
- How much money will a volunteer make?
- Will volunteers who were injected become immune to Covid-19?
- According to the article what is this kind of research called? Why?
- After reading the entire article, would you volunteer for the Covid-19 trials? Explain why or why not.
- With your group members discus how Covid-19 has affected your daily activites (e.g., home, school, family or friends).
Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideasyou’ve learned about the topic from the reading, two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.
Additional Exercises for Group Discussion
Main Idea / Debate
Directions: Divide students into two teams for this debate. Both teams can use information from the article and sources from the Web to support their arguments.
Team A will list five reasons that support arguments for volunteering for the Covid-19 trials.
Team B will list five reasons that support arguments against volunteering for the Covid-19 trials.
Allow each team time to state their points of view. The teacher decides which team made their points.
Pros and Cons Scale organizer from Freeology