Friday, December 4, 2020

Priest Who Volunteered for COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Passes Away

Father John Fields

Father John Fields (70), an archpriest of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, who was communication director for the archeparchy, died at his home Nov. 28, according to

The cause of death has yet to be determined, according to an announcement from the archeparchy.

Most recently Father Fields had volunteered to participate in the third and final phase of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine trial, according to the website.

In a Nov. 17 interview with Catholic News Service, he said he felt no ill effects from injections he received during the trials in late August and early October. When he received an invitation to volunteer for this from the University of Pennsylvania Aug. 28, he told CNS, he said “yes” immediately.

“I did not hesitate. For me, it was a go. I just hoped I would be accepted,” he said, adding that he had no concern about the risks. “I thought it was a win-win situation.”

By being in the study, he felt he might be able to “contribute in some small way to the development of an effective vaccine that would help stop this worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and the fear, suffering and death that it has already caused to millions and end the shutdowns and help restore society once again to a normal lifestyle.”

It was a blind study — about 50% of the participants received the experimental vaccine and the remaining 50% a placebo of saline solution, he said. The participants and the Penn Care team were not informed who received the vaccine and who received the placebo. However, the injections were coded for purposes of the study.

He received two injections, one Aug. 31 and the second one Oct. 1. Before the shots, he had to be tested for COVID-19 — and he tested negative each time, and he had blood drawn before the injections. He had to monitor his temperature and record any symptoms — such as fatigue, nausea, injection site pain, arm swelling, chills or fever, headaches — but had none of these after either shot, he told CNS.

On Oct. 26, he returned for a follow-up evaluation and he was going to continue to be evaluated for period of 25 months



  1. A priest who thought the problem of fear could be solved by an injection of a foreign substance into your body. He should have studied harder.

    David B.

  2. He gave his life for Science.

  3. I really doubt that the placebo is a saline solution. It most likely is an injection of adjuvants without antigen.