Michigan District Pastor Participating in the Coronavirus Vaccine Trials2 min read

In a community that has been hit hard by the Coronavirus, one of our Michigan District, LCMS pastors is hoping to help save lives by taking the road less traveled.

Rev. Dr. Evan Gaertner, Senior Pastor of Our Shepherd, Birmingham has seen how the virus has affected so many communities in Southeast Michigan and wanted to make a difference. He signed up at the beginning of October to be part of the Coronavirus vaccine study, but heard nothing at first. No one called back or emailed for a full month, so he tried again. The second time around, he got a call back immediately. Beaumont Health was doing research in the Detroit area and they brought him on board.

Gaertner got his first shot on Monday, November 16 and recalled, the first two days after getting the shot I was tired, had a slight headache, predictable soreness in my arm, and some body ache around my neck and shoulders.”

AstraZeneca is the company supplying the vaccine. Two-third of the patients get the actual vaccine, while the other third gets a placebo. Gaertner doesn’t know whether he was  given the vaccine or a placebo but, after experiencing the side effects of the first shot, he thinks it was likely the vaccine.

The study is still in the early stages and is expected to last two years. Gaertner will receive a total of two shots during the trial. Doctors will monitor him throughout the process through blood tests, and he also fills out a diary of his experience on a phone app to make it easy to communicate with the researchers.

He knows there are risks involved, but said, “I wanted to do this because I want the vaccines to be successful. I know that clinical trials are necessary to understand the effectiveness of the vaccines.”

Gaertner is putting his trust in the Lord throughout this process and said, “so far it has been a positive experience.”

Photo (c) kovop58/iStock

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About the Author

Jeffrey Heisner is the video journalist and digital media director for the Michigan District, LCMS.

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