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Last Monday it was announced that a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech had produced a 90 percent effectiveness in its final-stage trial. The trial, which currently progressing in the United States, involves 43,000 volunteers from six countries. Many logistics and unknowns must be addressed before the vaccine can be scaled up and distributed.
One of the critical unknowns relates to how the body will respond to the vaccine.
Some of the 43,000 volunteers involved in the study have shed light on the vaccine’s possible side effects.
The latest insight comes from Miquel Fernández, a Catalan living in the city of Norman, Oklahoma.
Fernández explained that the day after getting the vaccine, “I had symptoms as if I had the flu. Fever, general malaise and fatigue that lasted about five hours,” he said in an interview with Rac1.
The man has already received two doses of the vaccine.
After receiving the first dose, the trial manager warned him that people who had reacted to the vaccine with symptoms had an even stronger reaction when they received the second dose.
Fernández said: “The same day I had a lot of discomfort, more pain and the area where I got the shot was swollen. I experienced fatigue and fever again.
“It was as if I had caught a very bad flu. However, as happened after receiving the first dose, the symptoms disappeared the next day.”
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The Spaniard cannot assure that he has received the vaccine or the placebo.
The trial is double blind, which means that fifty percent of the volunteers receive the vaccine and the other half receive a placebo in the experimental phase.
It is not until the end of the trial that volunteers find out if they got the real vaccine.
In March 2021, the third test will be carried out, in which it will be determined if Miquel has produced antibodies to COVID-19.
What have others said about the vaccine?
Trial volunteer Glenn Deshields, 44, from Austin, Texas, described it as “a severe hangover” but said symptoms quickly cleared-up.
Another volunteer, 45-year-old Carrie from Missouri, said she experienced a headache, fever and body aches, after her first shot in September.
The side effects appeared to intensify after her second dose last month, she said.
Earlier today, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock provided an update on the timeline of the UK’s rollout of the vaccine.
According to Hancock, the UK government is working closely with Pfizer to ensure a 1st December initial rollout of the vaccine.
This is the very earliest the UK can distribute the vaccine, he said.
According to The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the following people will given first priority:
- Older adults’ resident in a care home and care home workers
- All those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers
- All those 75 years of age and over
- All those 70 years of age and overAll those 65 years of age and over
- High-risk adults under 65 years of age
- Moderate-risk adults under 65 years of age
- All those 60 years of age and over
- All those 55 years of age and over
- All those 50 years of age and over
- Rest of the population (priority to be determined).
The vaccine is one of a number of promising candidates that are currently being tested.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
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