Rather Than “Sitting on the Couch and Worrying,” Lynne Niebling Rolled Up Her Sleeve

Portrait of Lynne Niebling, COVID-19 Vaccine trial participant.

Posted December 31, 2020

As researchers across the world race to develop and distribute vaccines to stop the spread of COVID-19, Vermonters and New Yorkers have offered their arms to science, volunteering to participate in the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial at The Larner College of Medicine Vaccine Testing Center at The University of Vermont and UVM Medical Center.

These volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and offer varying reasons for becoming involved. A unifying theme, though, is a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves.

Here is Lynne’s story.

Lynne Niebling, 69, Randolph, VT

Lynne Niebling and her husband were watching the nightly news from their cozy Randolph living room when they first learned about the COVID-19 clinical trial. 

“I would do that,” Niebling said out loud, to no one in particular.  Within minutes, both she and her husband Rob were at their computers, filling out applications to participate. 

The couple moved to Vermont from New Jersey in the ’70s, looking for a more “wholesome” lifestyle for their family. They found it in Randolph, where they raised their children and she ran a local dance studio. Now 69, Niebling runs a flower shop downtown, and their kids and grandkids live nearby. The years have been kind, with few health concerns. 

Niebling received her first vaccination in November, the second in early December. “I go [to the Vaccine Testing Center], and everyone is so nice. They answer all my questions. It really has been no big deal.”

Niebling says she is proud of Vermont and Vermonters for the way they’ve handled themselves during the pandemic and awestruck at the progress of science in such a short period of time. “When you think about where we are, in less than a year,” she muses, “it’s pretty amazing.”

Niebling is happy to play a role in the effort. “When I signed up for this, I was thinking about my husband, my children and my grandchildren. Just to be able to do something, rather than just sit on the couch and worry. I’ll be really proud if something I did contributed to helping save people’s lives.”

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