KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Editor's note: This is a letter from WBIR anchor Robin Wilhoit to viewers and readers about her decision to join a COVID-19 vaccine trial and document the experience.
On August 5, I chose to be injected with an experimental vaccine for COVID-19.
I wanted to write this letter to explain why.
For the last 7 months, not a day has gone by that I haven’t said the words coronavirus, COVID-19 or shared the number of people infected with the virus, or worse, the number of people who have died.
It is my job. It’s information that must be shared for each of us to make decisions that guide us through this pandemic.
That said, I’m tired of reporting bad news.
For more on Robin's vaccine trial experience: click here
I’m tired of wearing a mask even though I know it is the right thing to do, and I will continue to do so as long as necessary.
I’m tired of keeping six feet apart when I would rather give a friend a hug.
I’m tired of being separated from my family.
As I write this, I’ve not seen my mother, face to face, since the beginning of the year. She lives in a senior living community that, until recently, has not allowed visitors. I miss her. Phone calls will never take the place of being there.
I’m just plain tired...as I know many of you are.
However, I'm even more hopeful.
I trust the science of vaccination research. It took people willing to take part in studies for scientists to develop vaccines to protect us from polio, measles, mumps, flu and many other life-threatening illnesses.
There are several trials happening around the world. I am one of the 44,000 people who made the decision to be part of a human clinical trial for the drug company, Pfizer. It's one of the trials taking place in Knoxville where I live.
I did my due diligence. I read everything I could about this study and then consulted with the local doctor heading up the trial at Volunteer Research Group. I walked away confident I was making the right choice for ME. I respect those who disagree with my decision, but this is a matter of personal choice.
I asked my leadership at WBIR for the opportunity to document my experiences solely to inform and educate. By showing the process, I hope the facts will replace the false information circulating about the vaccine. I promise to answer your questions and show you the entire process of going through the trial.
Volunteers are paid for their time and travel over the course of the two-year study. In full disclosure, I am not accepting the compensation. I am donating it to the United Way of Greater Knoxville.
My hope and prayer is that this vaccine will prove to be effective and lead us back to our lives before we ever uttered the word, coronavirus.
Experts in the world of infectious disease make the case, the one thing that will get us on the other side of this pandemic is an effective vaccine.
Well, that takes volunteers willing to step up and be part of medical history.
At a time when so many of us feel helpless, I see this as my way to help. That gives me hope.