A MEDICAL student from Redlynch who volunteered on a research group developing a vaccine to fight Covid-19 says she is "proud" to have played a part.

Poppy Iveson is a final year medical student at Oxford University and while her studies were suspended last March due to the lockdown she got the opportunity to be part of the Oxford Vaccine Group on the vaccine study.

She said: "It was a really valuable experience. I hadn't had an opportunity to get involved in clinical research like that before so that was really interesting."

The 23-year-old helped with administrative tasks like booking appointments, scheduling and printing off blood results as well more clinical work including taking bloods and doing follow-up checks and talking with participants.

"We helped with lots of different sides of the trial," said the former South Wilts Grammar School student.

"We did administrative work and helped with logistics but we could also perform a clinical role with follow-up visits."

Poppy was involved with the vaccine group until the summer and says she had done lab work before as part of her studies but had not worked on clinical trials with human participants before.

"It was really nice to feel useful and feel like we are contributing something positive. I certainly learnt so much while working there - learning things about clinical trials and vaccines but also working as part of a team," she added.

"So much of medicine is evidence based and you hear about all these trials but seeing how it happens was really useful and definitely something that I'd be interested in getting involved with more in the future alongside my clinical practice."

Poppy is continuing her involvement with new vaccine trials during the weekends.

One of the trials is looking at the effectiveness of vaccines if people are given a dose of the Oxford vaccine and a dose of the Phzier vaccine or vice versa to see if it is as effective as receiving doses of the same vaccine.

Another is looking at the effectiveness of the vaccine in children.

Speaking about when the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was approved she said "it was such an amazing feeling" and she feels "proud" to have played a part, adding: "Getting to see something you worked on from when it was a phase of a trial and no-one was really sure if its working to then seeing it be approved and with WHO recommending it for use everywhere is such a good feeling."

Poppy says she has "learnt so much from it" and it will "help with my clinical practice as a doctor" in the future.

She said: "So many people worked so hard to get to this stage. It would never have been possible without all the people that volunteered to take part in the trials.

"It feels really quite amazing we are now here and I have been vaccinated with it as well. It's weird to think I received the vaccine that I was part of the process for its approval."

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