If you get invited to take part in a Covid survey by ONS and Oxford, say yes

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
7DB8F15E-8654-4DCC-942E-015E6097AB31.jpeg

A few weeks ago an A4 letter dropped through the door addressed to the homeowners and inside was an invitation to take part in a Covid study by the office of national statistics and Oxford University.
Without reading the details particularly, I phoned them and said yes.
For five weeks we then had a weekly Covid swab test and quick survey (questions relating to contact with other people and face mask wearing) with the (negative) results returned a few days later and a £25 gift voucher each time.
Being science types and wanting to help, we would’ve done it for nothing but the vouchers have been nice.
Now the survey has gone monthly for the remaining year.
A new letter dropped through the other day inviting us to also give a tiny sample of blood with the survey so that antibody tests could add to the data.
If anybody gets this letter, I would urge them to take part two help gather data about Covid and also get some useful vouchers.

One interesting thought is that having been vaccinated, if the antibody test comes up showing no antibodies, then what happens?
 

Tight Git

Distinguished Member
View attachment 1528034


One interesting thought is that having been vaccinated, if the antibody test comes up showing no antibodies, then what happens?

This sounds very similar to the invitation that Mrs TG received last month.

It required a drop of blood to land on what I can only describe as a lateral flow test and, despite being double jabbed, it showed she had no antibodies!

When we queried it, it seems the test is not sensitive enough to detect antibodies created by the jabs, but only the (much higher) level created by having had Covid.
 

StormySeas

Well-known Member
This sounds very similar to the invitation that Mrs TG received last month.

It required a drop of blood to land on what I can only describe as a lateral flow test and, despite being double jabbed, it showed she had no antibodies!

When we queried it, it seems the test is not sensitive enough to detect antibodies created by the jabs, but only the (much higher) level created by having had Covid.
Seems a rather pointless survey then if that is the case.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
It's still useful to know how many people have been exposed to the virus, perhaps without knowing it.
 

Tight Git

Distinguished Member
Yes, I should have added that the test is to spot asymptomatic infections which, with the Delta variant so much more transmissible, could cause a local outbreak.
 

Purperen

Well-known Member
I'm already taking part in this survey. Received the letter inviting me to take part a few weeks ago. Fantastic rewards for something that literally takes up only 5 minutes of my time each week. The person conducting the survey phones, or texts, me on a Wednesday evening to arrange the appointment. Then they come to my house on Thursday at a time of my convenience, they ask me a few easy to answer questions and hand over the swab & test-tube. I go inside to my bathroom and do the swabbing of my throat and nostril and give the test-tube back to them. The survey representative never enters my house. Easy.

I got a £50 voucher for the first visit and for each visit after it is a £25 voucher. The vouchers are emailed to me about 5-7 days after each visit. For the first month it is one test per week and then it will be one test per month thereafter for a year. I can stop taking part at any time. The vouchers can be used at multiple online retailers and also at Tesco stores. I've already used one voucher to pay for the forthcoming True Romance 4K Limited Edition gift set from Amazon. Pretty much money for nothing or very little. If I continue with the survey for the full year, I should receive £400 in vouchers.

So, I whole-heartedly agree, if you receive the letter asking you to take part, it's a very good idea to do so.
 
D

Deleted member 898070

Guest
Who's paying for this? It sounds over-generous, to say the least.
 

Purperen

Well-known Member
Well, obviously, ultimately all us tax-payers are funding this. Same as we do for everything from grand projects like new railways being built to the not so grand paying for Government minister's lunches and taxi fares.

I suspect that if the vouchers were not offered, the number of people willing to take part would be very low. Personally, I would still have taken part if there hadn't been the offer of vouchers. Little or no inconvenience to myself and if I'm helping the scientific understanding of the virus, if even in a very small way, then great.

Besides, the cost of the vouchers as reward pales into insignificance next to the costs of the failed test & trace system and the PPE scandal.
 

Everything Goes

Distinguished Member
I'm already taking part in this survey. Received the letter inviting me to take part a few weeks ago. Fantastic rewards for something that literally takes up only 5 minutes of my time each week. The person conducting the survey phones, or texts, me on a Wednesday evening to arrange the appointment. Then they come to my house on Thursday at a time of my convenience, they ask me a few easy to answer questions and hand over the swab & test-tube. I go inside to my bathroom and do the swabbing of my throat and nostril and give the test-tube back to them. The survey representative never enters my house. Easy.

I got a £50 voucher for the first visit and for each visit after it is a £25 voucher. The vouchers are emailed to me about 5-7 days after each visit. For the first month it is one test per week and then it will be one test per month thereafter for a year. I can stop taking part at any time. The vouchers can be used at multiple online retailers and also at Tesco stores. I've already used one voucher to pay for the forthcoming True Romance 4K Limited Edition gift set from Amazon. Pretty much money for nothing or very little. If I continue with the survey for the full year, I should receive £400 in vouchers.

So, I whole-heartedly agree, if you receive the letter asking you to take part, it's a very good idea to do so.

You can also sign up for blood tests too if you feel up to it. It does require quite a bit of blood mind via a prick of the finger which you have to do yourself. You still get the same amount of vouchers whether you do bloods or not.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
I think it's only for people signed up to the survey, not for the one off blood test. Mrs IG didn't get a voucher for hers so I doubt you chucked one away :thumbsup:
 

Purperen

Well-known Member
You can also sign up for blood tests too if you feel up to it. It does require quite a bit of blood mind via a prick of the finger which you have to do yourself. You still get the same amount of vouchers whether you do bloods or not.
At the moment they don't need me for the blood test but the lady who came to my home for last week's swab test said that I may be asked at a later date. I'm happy to do so if asked.
 

krish

Distinguished Member
One interesting thought is that having been vaccinated, if the antibody test comes up showing no antibodies, then what happens?

I'm no expert, though I believe that could indicate an immunodeficiency disorder or problem - and that person should seek medical advice.

I was on the Janssen vaccine 2-dose trial and had my first jab on 28th Jan, and then my ONS blood sample of 8th March tested positive for antibodies. Now at this time I had no idea if I'd been given the vaccine or placebo, but that test made me suspect rather strongly that I'd been vaccinated, since I live alone, work from home, had been very careful following the rules, and also had some reaction to the jab (the usual). Had my second jab late March, and was then unblinded just a few weeks later since my cohort was being called up for the NHS jab - I had indeed been given the Janssen vaccine.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
Vaccination clearly works, so a negative test for antibodies may not be a matter for concern. If in doubt contact your health professionals.
 

vanmunchen

Active Member
I’ve been on this programme since September last year. Blood tests were added recently (I failed abysmally to get enough blood out of my finger at my first attempt). The beginning of the programme was a bit disorganised but it runs smoothly now. At first I didn’t even take notice that they paid on a continuing basis. I’ve had over £350 so far!
 

krish

Distinguished Member
I’ve been on this programme since September last year. Blood tests were added recently (I failed abysmally to get enough blood out of my finger at my first attempt).
Half of my visits they've failed to take blood (from my arm, never been a finger prick), because quite frankly they're not that highly skilled phlebotomists and didn't want to deal with my tricky veins - I was grateful, since it would probably have been painful, as I've experienced at blood donations with the similarly skilled.
 

vanmunchen

Active Member
Half of my visits they've failed to take blood (from my arm, never been a finger prick), because quite frankly they're not that highly skilled phlebotomists and didn't want to deal with my tricky veins - I was grateful, since it would probably have been painful, as I've experienced at blood donations with the similarly skilled.
I don't have anyone coming in to take my blood. I do it myself and hand it over while they wait outside. Surely that's the normal procedure for the ONS study?
 

LV426

Administrator
Staff member
One interesting thought is that having been vaccinated, if the antibody test comes up showing no antibodies, then what happens?
I had a much simpler survey to do for UK BioBank (I am a participant) involving a blood antibody lateral flow test, self administered. This was between my two O/AZ vaccine doses and was negative. The explanatory letter states this to be not unusual:
a) the vaccine typically does not generate antibodies to the same extent as the disease proper
b) but it DOES also trigger a T-Cell reaction, not detected at all by the test, which coupled with the antibodies that are there (often in insufficient quantity to register on the basic test) gives a sufficient degree of immunity.

As to swab tests: still doing those weekly, until the end of June, as a (control, it transpires) participant in the O/AZ trial.
 

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