TAMPA, Fla. — While several drug companies continue working toward an FDA Emergency Use Authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine, trial participants and doctors are warning people of the potential side effects the vaccine could pose.
“Headache, which I would say, mild; muscle pain, mostly in my legs; chills; and arm pain from where I received the injection,” said Nick Casale, a Tampa Bay local participating in the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial in Orlando.
Casale says the AstraZeneca trial is a double-blinded trial, so he’s still not sure whether he got the actual vaccine or the placebo.
“There’s a 70 percent chance that I got the active vaccine,” said Casale.
But based on his reaction, he believes he may be part of that 70 percent.
“Nothing over the top, just a little under the weather for like 12-18 hours,” said Casale.
Casale’s reaction is not unheard of. In fact, doctors are starting to warn people to be prepared for a potential set of mild side effects due to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The initial safety trials showed about 50 percent of people will develop some grade of fatigue, and a little bit less will develop some grade of fever. It’s not 100 percent, and most of the time it occurs after the second dose,” said Dr. Michael Teng, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of South Florida.
Dr. Teng says this is a normal reaction to any vaccine, as your body ramps up your immune response.
“It’s not going to make you infectious, it’s not going to put you on a pathway to hospitalization,” said Dr. Teng.
And for that 50 percent of people who do develop symptoms, they’ll likely only stick around for about a day. A walk in the park compared to what the actual COVID-19 virus may have in store.
“I would much rather feel fatigued for a day or two than get ventilated,” said Dr. Teng.
Casale agrees, saying that after witnessing firsthand what the virus can do, he would rather have the vaccine.
“For 12 hours or so of mild pain, just feeling like you have a small flu, it was totally worth the risk,” said Casale.
Drug company Pfizer is the first to submit for FDA Emergency Use Authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine, which they say proved to be 95 percent effective during their vaccine trials.
Healthcare professionals expect one of the COVID-19 vaccines to receive FDA approval within the next few weeks.