UK Vaccine Trial Volunteer Is 'Very Much Alive' After Death Rumours Circulated
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A woman who was one of the first people to be injected in the coronavirus vaccination trials is 'very much alive' after fake reports of her death circulated.
A fake online article emerged that claimed microbiologist Elisa Granato had passed away following complications after having the vaccine.
Dr Granato was one of two people to take part on the first day of the UK trial on Thursday (23 April), which was also her 32nd birthday.
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After the false reports began to circulate, the government released a tweet which said that it was 'completely untrue' that the first volunteer had died.
According to The Guardian, she also posted a tweet before making her Twitter account private. She wrote: "Nothing like waking up to a fake article on your death... I'm doing fine everyone."
In an interview with the BBC, Dr Granato said: "I'm very much alive, thank you. I'm having a cup of tea, it's Sunday 26 April. Three days after my birthday, three days after I got the vaccine or the control, we don't know. And I'm having a nice Sunday and I hope everyone else in the world has too."
So there we have it.
Volunteering for the trial alongside Dr Granato was cancer researcher Edward O'Neill - they both said they wanted to assist in what could be a groundbreaking development.
Scientists from the Oxford Vaccine Group administered the Covid-19 injection to one of the participants, while the other was given a meningitis vaccine so that the two could be compared. Only the doctors will know which patient was administered with the Covid-19 vaccine.
On the day that one of the vaccination, Dr Granato said she was 'excited' to support the efforts of fighting against the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to the BBC, she said: "Since I don't study viruses, I felt a bit useless these days, so I felt like this is a very easy way for me to support the cause."
Mr O'Neill said: "It seems like the right thing to do to ensure that we can, you know, combat this disease and get over it a lot faster."
When he was asked whether his family knew what he was doing, he said: "My wife is fully aware, my son just thought that daddy's going to work today and I guess I am going to work for a different thing than normal."
Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group - which is leading the trial - said: "We're chasing the end of this current epidemic wave.
"If we don't catch that, we won't be able to tell whether the vaccine works in the next few months. But we do expect that there will be more cases in the future because this virus hasn't gone away."