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These are coronavirus vaccine side effects that trial participants are experiencing

Published Oct 3rd, 2020 10:12AM EDT
Coronavirus vaccine
Image: Alernon77/Adobe

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  • Coronavirus vaccine trial participants have reported feeling a mix of side effects including tiredness, fever, and headaches, according to an interview with a handful of late-stage Phase 3 participants.
  • Crucially, though, all of those participants who shared the symptoms they experienced in an interview with CNBC agreed on one point — that they felt these symptoms (which mostly went away after a day) were an acceptable trade-off for the reward of a potentially successful coronavirus vaccine.
  • A successful and safe coronavirus vaccine is expected to be cleared and ready for usage before the end of this year.

If anyone has been following the news to any degree over the last 24 hours, you don’t need to be reminded that there is really only one story in the US right now. It is the coronavirus pandemic, and specifically how the virus that’s rampaged across the country for months has now turned the White House and the orbit of President Trump into a petri dish of COVID-19 infection. As of the time of this writing, late Friday night, the toll of victims in the president’s circle only continues to grow, with Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway and Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien announcing that they, like the president and first lady, have likewise tested positive for COVID-19. Trump, by the end of the day on Friday, was being treated at Walter Reed Medical Center, where he’d been admitted earlier in the day and, per NBC News, had been started on a course of remdesivir treatment.

Outside of the Trump orbit and politics in general, the lion’s share of everyone’s focus still remains on the virus. Along these lines, we also learned on Friday some salient new information connected to the coronavirus vaccines that all of us are so keenly anticipating — specifically, what symptoms that coronavirus vaccine trial participants have begun to experience.

CNBC spoke with a total of five participants in late-stage trials for the coronavirus vaccine. Three of the participants are being watched for how Moderna’s experimental vaccine affects them, while two others were given Pfizer’s vaccine candidate.

In interviews, the participants reported feeling symptoms that include chills, a fever, shaking, body aches, headaches, and exhaustion. Importantly, though, all participants that CNBC spoke with said those symptoms went away after no more than a day — and all of them felt it was an acceptable trade-off for the benefit of a vaccine that ends up proving to be successful.

That last part, of course, is what’s still being studied now, with several major vaccine makers in the process of the crucial phase three test period that’s required to clear their vaccine for distribution. Human trials are underway for a few dozen vaccine candidates worldwide, and four of them are specifically US-backed — they include vaccines from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

At least one safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be ready for usage before the end of 2020, but it will likely only be accessible to frontline workers until sometime next year.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.