AUSTIN (KXAN) — Pharmaceutical giant Moderna recently announced its vaccine for COVID-19 has been nearly 95% effective in early trials, but how does it make the participants in the trials feel afterward?
The point of vaccines is to trigger a response from the immune system against a weakened form of the virus, and sometimes that leads to some side effects, as two people KXAN talked to can attest to.
These participants believe they received the vaccine because of the side effects they felt. However, it’s important to note that neither the 300,000 participants nor the investigators know whether they received the vaccine or the placebo — a saltwater solution — to reduce error that could be introduced in the study. An independent board reviews the “blinded” and “unblinded” data.
KXAN meteorologist Sean Kelly volunteered for the trial, and while he had some side effects after the first of the two required shots, he said the booster second shot made him feel worse for a day or so.
“It was a terrible fever. I’m not going to lie. It was not pleasant,” Kelly said, “but the same time thinking that this is probably better than actually getting COVID. As soon as it came, it went away in about 24 hours.”
According to National Institutes of Health information about the trial, the investigators call each participant after their shots to discuss any symptoms. Additionally, participants keep a diary of symptoms and monitor their temperatures.
“It felt like a very bad hangover,” trial participant Abby Strite said. “It felt like I was very, very dehydrated, very tired, a little woozy.”
KXAN talked to Strite at the end of October after her experience with the trial.
Benchmark Research is conducting both Moderna and Pfizer trials in Austin, and they say side effects have been mild and similar to those of the flu vaccine with pain at the injection site, fatigue, muscle aches and headaches.
Moderna’s vaccine news came on the heels of Pfizer’s big news that their vaccine, while needing to be stored at sub-zero temperatures, tested at 90% efficacy in early trials. Both drug companies are set to apply for emergency use later in the year. Moderna’s vaccine can be stored at typical refrigeration temperatures.
Pfizer picked Texas as one of four states to test its delivery system for the vaccine, Reuters reported Tuesday.