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July 23rd, 2009
09:25 AM ET

Want to Be a Guinea Pig?

From Writer/Producer Doug Furnad

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius says we could have an H1N1 flu vaccine my mid-October.
H1N1 is the so-called swine flu.
The CDC says swine flu has 263 people in the United States.
But before that vaccine can be made available to the public, it has to be tested.
On humans.
So they are now looking for volunteers to get the shots.
That means people are going to have to step up, and be injected with the dead virus.
It's a critical step to get the country prepared before flu season hits.
So here's the question:
Would you volunteer to be a human guinea pig, and test the swine flu vaccine?
Let us know.

Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. bootcamp4yourmind


    July 23, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  2. brandon

    our father who art in heaven doesn't want you to put anything in your body that he didn't put there when you were made. so say no to drug tests. if they really wanted to know how it worked, they'd test it on themselves.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  3. Deji Ojo


    I am sure I will do it if I get paid for it. However, I am very skeptical about the effects in the long ran. I will definitely try it after the first round of "guinea pigs" have tried it without any repercussions.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  4. kenneth ward stephens sr

    hey gm Hedie Ithink hearthcare reform will work our heathcare is very too high we need Grov. run hearthcare it work in canada and in Eglanland and in Ieland so why not in USA get rid HMO we need more PPO network

    July 23, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  5. Tim Hendon, Hammond, LA

    I have volunteered for clinical drug trials before and was compensated at various amounts for the different types of clinical trials. I would not be opposed to stepping up to get vaccinated with the trial version; however, the federal government would have to anty up an incentive or two... Perhaps $1,000 – $2,000/person; plus travel expenses to/from the testing site; and agree to make public the side effects and announce publicly if there was an adverse reaction or death to the vaccine. With that said, I'd offer my right shoulder for the vaccine!

    July 23, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  6. Mel - Rancho Mirage, California

    Heidi, I am not sure that I'll be willing to take this injection after they say it is safe. Not that I'll contract swine flu with a dead virus in my body but this might turn out to be another one of those that gets recalled in a couple of years for other side affects. We need the people to help test this but it is a tough decision for any one to make.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  7. Karen Jollie

    Yes, of course I would volunteer. I couldn't get the virus from the injection, though I suppose there could get some sort of reaction. This flu is spreading so fast and could mutate in the process to something worse. I would rather be part of the solution than wait to get the disease and be seriously ill.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  8. Joe Healey

    I am 68 years old with a Humana Gold Plus Supplimentary Health Insurance plan that is paid through Medicare/Social Security. I am a surviving Prostate Cancer patient who requires an expensive quarterly injection of a drug called Zoladex. The Zoladex is presently covered by my insurance at No cost to me. I take daily meds which acts in concert with the Zoladex(every 3 months). This drug(Flutamide) and a Cholesterol drug I take are both covered by my Humana Plan at NO COST(since they are generic).
    I am concerned that if a Health Care Bill is passed by Congress; will I still be getting these benefits from my insurance company?
    Thank you.
    Joe Healey

    July 23, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  9. Neil Olstad

    Hi Heidi
    I live in Canada and I was vaccinated against the so called "swine flu" back in 1975 after which that vaccine was quickly withdrawn from the market . I did not suffer any ill effects and curiously never suffered from that flu or any other flu even once in the last 34 years. Sure, I would be a guinea pig for the new vaccine.
    Thank you
    Neil Olstad
    Alberta Canada

    July 23, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  10. suhail khan

    some one from FDA should volunteer why should an outsider

    July 23, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  11. Robert F, Hickey, Ph.D.

    My wife and I pay $8,000.00 annually in insurance premiums. Due to my cancer issues since 1997 I pay $24,000.00 annually in out of pocket fees. Do we need health care reform? You do the math!

    July 23, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  12. Gene

    The important question I can't seem to get answered anywhere is "do any of these health care bills cover dental care?" Who says it's important? A 2002 Surgeon General study found, among other things, that we are 95% more likely to get heart disease if we have periodontal disease!

    July 23, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  13. mike Hummel

    I'm an American living in Canada. I've lived in Canada for almost 9 years now, and I have lived under the Canadian health care system. My level of care has gone way beyond my expectations. For example: When I see the doctor, I'm not having to wait 45 minutes beyond the appointment time. I get in and out in a respectable amount of time. In the doctors office, you will not see "Payment is expected at time of service ", plastered everywhere. Or, "We accept VISA, MC, Discover, AMEX". It's a Canadian right to be cared for, and the people here do not go bankrupt over it.
    The Canadian government will not tolerate the Pharmaceutical industry to cash in on grotesque profits at the expense of the people. They want care, and they get it. State of the art equipment when only available to the rich, makes no sense at all.

    Dental care has been superb. I had extensive work performed, and I'm proud to say that at age 60 I have all of my teeth.

    Having to wait for certain procedures is part of it, but the people cope with it. Life threatening events are handled professionally, make no mistake.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  14. Rick Parker

    I believe the WHO are trying to
    distance themselves from their
    counter epionage spies of dog races.
    The Hunt for Bonnie lies over the ocean.
    Hardly, harhar!!!!

    July 23, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  15. Inri from Cambridge, MA

    If I had working health care, I wouldn't mind being a test subject. As it stands, neither I nor my employer can afford for me to get sick.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  16. Yvan

    No I would not be a guinea pig to risk my life on some unknown flu vaccine that would do for you, believe it or not I never had any kind of flu vaccine in my life, I'm over fifty years old and only missed 1 day of work in the last 12 years. But I have notice these flu vaccine affects lots of these people the way they do there things, I could actually notice these people, they walk around like zombies, and its true.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  17. Larry

    Sure Heidi.

    Clinical testing on new drugs is not what it used to be, when they used convicts and gave them a break on their sentences.

    We've come a long way in the past 30 years as far as testing of new drugs. Procedures and protocols have to be followed before the drug can even get to the human testing phase.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  18. Rita Cella

    I am hopeful that the debate regarding healthcare reform will incorporate lengthy discussions regarding frivolous lawsuits whereby a majority of healthcare practitioners are forced to practice defensively. This issue warrants close examination and analyses whereby measures must be developed so that healthcare practitioners are not forced to practice in this manner.
    Rita Cella, RN, BSN, MBA
    Family Nurse Practitioner Student & Doctoral Nursing Candidate
    U-Mass, Amherst

    July 23, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  19. rhonda bloschock

    Ted Kennedy would not have had a craniotomy under the new health plan-he is elderly, end of life and had nothing to gain from his surgery. Obama's grandma would not have had a hip replacement, either.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  20. Mary

    YOU GO FIRST along with all of your colleagues at CNN and Obama, then let the rest of us know how it was for you and them. I WILL WAIT! Considering the bias-based reporting and segments aired on CNN, I am surprised that CNN together with Obama have not called together a panel to DEMAND that white Americans be lined up outside of clinics and FORCED to have these injections!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  21. masimons

    No way. Never bother with vaccinations.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  22. Mary

    To Rita above. If they got it right the first time there would be no need for " frivolous" lawsuits.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  23. Gaston Kayonga

    I think that Pres. Obama did a great conference. He knows currently what is going on in our health care system. It is true that U.S. doctor doesn't care about patient. He does first take care of insurance. The first word from the doctor when he meets a patient is insurance. Ethically, I think it's very wrong for U.S. doctors. Victims are listed everywhere. Why we do not want a change?
    Pres. Obama is exceptional president. He is not a demagogue. He tells us the truth. I strongly urge that U.S. Nations have to support him into this healthcare reform's battle. Let me tell you something. I am an immigrant from Africa. When we (my family and I) came in 2000, we were chocked with how U.S. doctors treated patients. I used to plan to move to Canada just for a good health care. I think It's now a good opportunity to move forward and make change.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  24. Karen

    Healthcare reform has been talked and not talked about since 1948, a year before i was born. Yes we need to get it right, if it takes till the end of the year to get it right, so be it. Obama clarified some things, not others, but kept the door open for debate and negotiations, overall i was impressed with him. Bottom line is that SOMETHING has to be done!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  25. Gloria

    We were on vacation in Canada and my husband who had Cancer but was doing well all of a sudden turned ill. He was admitted to the hospital and it was a nightmare from then on. We waited & waited for help, it took hours. He was given a room with five other people and I had to ask for help over & over again. I knew I had to get him home or he would die. My friend in Maryland & I worked on hiring a medical plane with a EMT to fly into an airport in the US close to Canada. This cost me $5,000 for the plane. He was not able to fly or drive home. I also had to hire an ambulance to take him to the airport.

    Before we left the hospital I was told I had to pay the bill or I could not leave.

    The medical care was the worst I have ever seen. It was as if nobody cared. There was only one nurse who really cared about him and even called me at home to see how my husband was.

    We arrived home with an ambulance waiting for us at the airport, arranged by our doctor and at the hospital my husband was rushed upstairs for tests and his doctor waiting for us.

    I would not want anyone to have to go through that kind of treatment or care ever again. What if I did not have money or a credit card to pay the bill, or was not able to get him home.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  26. Rosanne

    The story about paying too much for the wheel chair, could be the answer to how to pay for health care! The abuse is huge and that is where the focus should be . I know several people who are on medicare. The products and services they use are over priced by incredible amouts because the tax payers foot the bill . Why don't we stop It?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  27. Sal D.

    Ordinarily I'd be open to being a guinea pig for such an important study. However, I am 66 years old. According to a CDC study, the very young and the old are somewhat less susceptible to the Swine Flu than others. This differs from ordinary seasonal flu which afflicts the young and the elderly to a much greater degree than those of the other age groups. The reason theorized is that Swine Flu, like the Spanish Flu of 1919 which killed tens of millions, is a H1N1 virus. And those of us born before 1958 may have been able to develop protective antibodies before the Spanish Flu mutated significantly. Check it out with the CDC! The study would best be aimed at those under 50 years of age.

    July 23, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  28. michael holzgang

    Animal rights groups fight to prevent lab experiments of all kinds on innocent, defenseless animals. But, evidently this doesn't apply to humans. The human too is an animal. Apparently congress and the senate don't understand that ALL medicine and treatment is experimentation. That is why they have disclaimer statements. This nation doesn't need a 'health intervention plan' as it does, what is needed is a 'HEALTH PREVENTION PLAN'. Evidently this is a nation of the sickly, and not the vibrant and healthy.

    July 23, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  29. Dee in sunny (and somewhat wet) Florida

    I personally would not want to be a human guinea pig.

    However that is exactly what those who participate in clinical trials are. If they (the drug companies and the government) are offering COMPENSATION for volunteers to test the vaccine I am sure they will get a LOT of takers, especially as so many people are out of work!

    July 23, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  30. GARY

    Offer the Swine Flu Vaccine to prison inmates, in exchange give them a reduced sentence. This saves the taxpayers money to keep them in prison and provides human subject for the vaccine.

    July 23, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  31. Cynthia Schultheis

    Regarding giving the Swine Flu vaccine to prison inmates....not a bad idea...along with drafting gang-bangers into the military...[when they are busted with a gun or use one in a crime] Let them shoot it up in a war zone instead of our city streets.

    July 23, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  32. Victor

    How much we talking about here?

    July 23, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  33. j

    I think we should enroll Pharma CEO's to do these clinical trials. They're always pushing short term data on everyone else. Here's there big chance to step up and be standup guys! Longterm Outcomes data is very important to all of us, so think about that next time you are doing drug trials.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  34. Everett Davis

    YES! Without hesitation! Many flu vacines are tested in this way; using a parts of a dead virus. Its the single best way to allow the human body to develop anti-bodies against the strain. Swine flu, Bird flu, or even equine flu, whenever the CDC is ready? I'm in.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:02 pm |
  35. John Sherwood

    You may want to reconsider and contact your local medical facility prior to being a test subject for anything if you intend to enter a hospital or clinic. I was made conscious of that fact after bringing in a friend to the hospital ER and the ramifications of having belonged to a similar program.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:33 am |
  36. Jerry Thoma

    I think the police officer was just doing his job and did it well. When they are called out to a crime, they are going in blind. The reaction of the prof. is just proof of the problems with blacks and hispanics. He should have worked with the police to resolve the issue that the police were called out on. Why wasn't anything said about the black officer that was there? The problem with the race thing in America is the race it self. If they would stop bringing it up, it will fade away.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  37. william champ

    Mr. Gates was in his own home and when the officer found out that he was the owner of the resident the situation should have been dead. Here is something to think about if he acted so disorderly why were the charges dropped so soon. This happens all the time in my community we as black men are harrassed, profiled, and arrested all the time, but in my community we are not affluent or well known so it is pushed under the rug and life goes on. I am glad America gets hear and see what really goes on with police and black men.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  38. Vicki

    I don't want a vaccine even after it has been tested, thank you. And I am all for lawsuits. It is the only control over the medical industry that there is.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  39. Critical Ms

    I would test the swine flue shot, if I were compensated with a health insurance plan that I could afford, and that would cover me (and my preexisting conditions).

    July 24, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  40. Dr. G

    Folks – have we forgotten how many people died or got serious side effects from the swine flu vaccine in the 1970s? We have such a short memory! This paricular strain is not very virulent and anyone with a healthy immune system will be able to overcome the illness within a few weeks. There is no need for the average person to even consider taking the vaccine!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  41. judie manulkin

    I would be happy to particiapte in the swine flu testing. I live in a large adult Florida condo and could provide evidence of viability for others..
    Dr.Judie Manulkin

    July 24, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  42. David

    I imagine that people who take the vaccine as volunteers are closely monitored in a hospital so that if there is any problem they can quickly be treated. So, yes, I'd think about it. The thing is if the swine flu of H1N1 becomes wide spread, many people are going to be taking the vaccine and so in a way we might all be test subjects in the first round of the vaccine.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  43. Megan

    This sort of thing needs to be tested on ANIMALS first before it is tested on humans.It's a matter of common sense, something Congress seems to lack if they even suggested the notion of testing on humans. I am unsure on just how safe this is. I am all for vaccine, but I am not trying to become seriously ill from what was suppose to originally help me. In the end, what would be more tragic? A random pig dying from a swine flu vaccine or a human? Something tells me the death of a human would cause more of a stir and, it should. Animal rights groups have no place in trying to save human live. It's one of those rare situations where they need to be ignored and we need to think of our self and our health and realize that trying out something like this is a risk to our health. Especially at a time when Health and it's reform is a hot topic. just IMAGINE the amount of people in the hospital if this doesn't work out.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  44. Jim

    Why don't they test it on themselves and their own families. Maybe then they will be a little more concerned with the vaccines safety. They can keep their vaccine. I'll take my chances.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  45. Fen

    I would gladly be a test subject as long as it pays. Been out of work for 10 months and in need of money as a good number of the country are in the same boat and if it helps to stop this flu bug all the better

    July 24, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  46. David

    Allright Critical Ms, that's a good answer, since swine flu shot has long term risks, it's a good idea to request long term compensation in the form of health insurance. Good pt.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  47. Sonny Julius

    I would never take a flu shot. They have been proven dangerous and worthless.

    There is only one way to defend yourself against the flu or any other illness or disease and that is learning how you build up your immune system to the highest degree possible. The immune system is your defense system to keep you healthy and staying healthy.

    Here's what you must do to make that happen. It includes a healthy diet, exercise, stress management, weight control, additional nutrients, and mind control.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  48. Kathleen Bauer

    Sure, I would be happy to be a test subject for the Swine flu vacine if someone will cover my medical costs if it makes me sick, since I'm one of the uninsured in America right now.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  49. David

    Megan, I think the assumption is that the flu shot would only be tested on humans after it is tested on animals.

    Good to know that there are others who would be willing to test such a vaccine. I guess we have yet to see if a swine flu vaccine is truly needed, and there are risks involved in a new vaccine. Previously, swine flu vaccinations had effects that were worse than the swine flu and there was no epidemic that required the use of widespread vaccinations. That was with a previous strain of the virus, the current strain is supposed to be more communicable and so there may be more of a necessity.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  50. Juan from IL

    Hi Heidi,
    I agree with Gary. Offer the Swine-Flu vaccine to prison inmates for a reduced prison sentence. By the way, what makes us think our government is not doing it already? Think about it, a confined, controlled group like prison inmates. Who would know and who would care?

    July 25, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  51. David

    Good Morning Heidi, I assumed there would be follow up care for someone who volunteered to test the vaccine in my previous post, but is that actually how that works? And how does insurance coverage figure in this?

    July 25, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  52. AC American Citizen and taxpayor

    The vaccine serves as a marker for the work of your own personal immune system...With hopes of marking the idenification of the virus in your own immune system so that you set up a battlefront to fight off the invader. "id" the invader and recognize the invasion for your personal protection against the virus in the future would be the best outcome of the vaccination. I would take the vaccine but I am not interested in the experiment of being exposed to the virus not knowing if it would work for me. I am not against vaccines. Without them we would not have risen as a nation above third world status.

    July 28, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  53. TMCD

    I'll do it as long as they come to my house, pay me lots, bring beer, and then go away.

    Oh, pick up some brats and buns too...tnx.

    September 9, 2009 at 11:27 pm |