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Ross: Vaccine trial participants experience side-effects so we don’t have to

A volunteer receives a COVID-19 test vaccine injection developed at the University of Oxford in Britain, at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. People on six continents are testing experimental shots as the race for a COVID-19 vaccine enters a defining summer. (AP Photo/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Ian Haydon lives in Seattle and volunteered for the Phase 1 trial of a potential coronavirus vaccine.

“The primary goal is safety,” Haydon said. “It’s to learn not necessarily yet does this vaccine work, but does it cause any problems in people who take it?”

Phase 1 is where they test for side-effects. And Haydon was in the high-dose test. Two shots.

A healthy man signing up to see if a large dose of an untested vaccine would make him sick. I don’t want to imply the risk is the same as when some inebriated stranger slips you pills at a party – but still, it is a step into the unknown.

So the first shot was fine, a little soreness – but when he got the second one 28 days later:

“I ended up getting the chills, I ended up with a fever, headache, nausea, some muscle pain, a lot of things came on, and they urged me and my girlfriend to go to urgent care,” he said.

But I’m happy to report the symptoms cleared up within 24 hours – and the researchers learned something:

“So that high dose will no longer be tested going forward.”

The next step will be the Phase 2 trial to see if the vaccine actually prevents COVID-19.

And when the day finally comes that you get YOUR shot, and the pharmacist hands you a 3-foot receipt that reads, “May cause chills, fever, headache, nausea, muscle pain. Most symptoms disappear within 24 hours” – you might want to say, “thank you, Ian.”

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