On the afternoon of Sept. 22, I became a data point in the search for a vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

That’s when I received the first of two shots in a clinical trial to develop a vaccine, and became one of 30,000 volunteers to take a needlestick for science.

Why am I doing it? A combination of altruism, curiosity, and a sense of duty as a journalist. But more on that later.

Aside from the nurse who injected me and the hospital pharmacy that supplied her with the injection, no one else knows whether I received a placebo or the would-be vaccine. Not me. Not even Dr. Bindu Balani, the principal investigator in the trial at Hackensack University Medical Center, one of 89 study sites around the country.

This is called a double-blind study because both the researchers and the participants are blind to what was inside that syringe.

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