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Rob Portman Participates in Vaccine Trial

By Paul Koval

U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Oh) announced that he has enrolled in the ENSEMBLE phase 3 clinical trial for a Covid-19 vaccine candidate being developed by Johnson & Johnson at a research center in Cincinnati.

“The reason I participated in this trial is because I think the (covid-19) vaccines are important,” Portman said in a statement. “I thought by doing it and going public, we might get more people to do it. It’s a great idea.”

“The Phase 3 ENSEMBLE trial is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a single dose of a vaccine versus placebo in up to 60,000 adults,” according to the Johnson &  Johnson website. A double-blind study indicates that both the investigator and participant are not informed if the vaccine candidate or a placebo was used in each case.

Portman explained that participants keep a journal of any symptoms they may experience. “I keep a diary, and every Monday and Thursday now I report back as to whether I have symptoms,” he said. “50 percent of the people get the placebo, 50 percent get the actual vaccination. I don’t know which I got, but I feel great.”

“I look at it as a way I can play a small role in supporting our country’s health care response to his pandemic,” Portman said. “The more people Johnson & Johnson has in the trial, the sooner they can have the complete data they need to finalize this phase of the trial, and move on to the FDA approval process.”

Johnsons & Johnson is still seeking participants for the study. Applications for interested persons can be filled out online at

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