Several participants in COVID-19 vaccine trials have reported some intense yet fleeting side effects.
According to CNBC, five participants reported high fever, body aches, headaches, and exhaustion after getting the shot.
Three of those were from Moderna’s study and two from Pfizer’s late-stage trials. Moderna and Pfizer are two of only four U.S.-back trials that have moved on to phase three. The other two include AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
While the side effects seemed to go away within a span of 24 hours, the participants expressed shock at the severity, saying symptoms were more painful than expected.
“If this proves to work, people are going to have to toughen up,” one participant of the Moderna study, a woman from North Carolina in her 50's said.
“The first dose is no big deal. And then the second dose will definitely put you down for the day for sure. … You will need to take a day off after the second dose,” the unidentified woman added.
Despite the grueling symptoms, she explained the side-effects outweigh the risk of becoming infected with the virus.
“My hope is that this works but also that the communication [on side effects] is good,” she said.
Many participants asked to remain anonymous as they feared backlash from the company.
Another participant, a 20-year-old, came down with a high fever following the shot.
“I wasn’t sure if I needed to go to the hospital or not because 104 is pretty high,” he told the outlet. “But other than that, it’s been fine.”
Luke Hutchinson, a 44-year-old from Utah, who signed up for the trials because he's "pro-science," said that after her go his Moderna booster shot on September 15, he was bedridden with “full-on COVID-like symptoms.” He described having shakes, chills, a terrible headache along with shortness of breath. He also reported a temperature of above 100 degrees for a few hours. He described the pain in his arm where he got the shot as a “goose egg on my shoulder.”
“I’m obviously an isolated case, but since all indications point to this vaccine being approved, I feel like people should know that the side effects may be severe, especially after the second shot,” he wrote on Twitter.
“There definitely had to have been an immune response, since the immune reaction after the 2nd shot was so much more severe than after the 1st shot,” he explained.
The side effects weren’t exclusive to Moderna as Pfizer trial participants had similar experiences.
One said he had flu-like symptoms following the second shot. He recalled shaking so badly that he cracked part of his tooth.
“It hurt to even just lay in my bedsheet,” he told the outlet.
Most participants agreed that the side effects wouldn’t deter them from getting the vaccine. Instead, they hope people will know about the side effects upfront and will either take it on a weekend or take a day off of work to rest.
“If it gets approved, I still think a lot of people should get the vaccine and I hope that all the side effects are made clear up front,” he said.
Pfizer acknowledged the “short-lived fever, mostly mild to moderate in severity, can be expected in a minority of recipients.”
The phase three trials are a critical last step in getting the vaccines cleared for distribution to the public.
Health officials expect to have a safe and effective vaccine ready by the end of the year.