- Moderna said her vaccine had side effects such as muscle pain and fatigue.
- Experts say that if the vaccine prevents COVID-19, mild or moderate side effects will not impact vaccine uptake.
- Experts said they were waiting for full data before recommending Moderna’s shot.
- Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.
We’ve just had our most detailed review yet of the side effects of one of the first effective coronavirus vaccines.
Biotech company Moderna provided a summary of the side effects its vaccine can cause when it reported positive interim results for the vaccine in a press release.
Moderna’s vaccine, like Pfizer’s, is over 90% effective. Both vaccines use messenger RNA-based technology, and their apparent success bodes well for the new vaccine platform. Pfizer did not provide information on side effects, but said there were no serious safety concerns with its vaccine.
However, like most good things in life, where there is a benefit, the risks must also be considered.
It’s important to understand the side effects and communicate them to people in advance, so they don’t come as a surprise, said Dr. Jesse Goodman, former senior scientist with the US Food and Drug Administration. United.
He said if Moderna’s vaccine works well to prevent COVID-19 and the side effects don’t last too long, people will take it.
“If the vaccine’s efficacy in the study remains high, I think most people will see this as a reasonable compromise,” said Goodman, who is now director of the Center on Medical Product Access, Safety and Stewardship at the Georgetown University.
Moderna said her vaccine was “generally well tolerated” and most of the adverse events, or side effects, were mild or moderate.
Some participants in the company’s trial, however, experienced more serious side effects. The exact definition of serious side effects depends on the symptom, but generally severe side effects are those that prevent daily activity.
Moderna vaccination is given as two injections, 28 days apart. Most of the serious side effects occurred after participants received the second dose.
Side effects of Moderna shooting
The only serious side effect after the first dose was pain at the injection site, reported by 2.7% of participants.
Here are the serious side effects that people in the trial reported after the second dose:
- Fatigue in 9.7% of participants
- Muscle pain in 8.9%
- Joint pain in 5.2%
- Headache in 4.5%
- Pain at the injection site in 4.1%
- Redness around the injection site in 2%
Moderna said the side effects were “usually short-lived” but did not provide more information. It should be noted that these are “solicited” adverse events, meaning that the results only include some side effects that Moderna questioned.
More information is needed on side effects
Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick is an infectious disease specialist and medical epidemiologist who helped shape the health policy of President-elect Joe Biden. She is also participating in the Moderna vaccine trial. She signed up to demonstrate that vaccine trials are voluntary and safe, which she explained in an article for Business Insider.
Fitzpatrick is not sure if she is getting the vaccine or a salt water solution, known as a placebo. However, regarding the side effects, she wrote that she had experienced arm aches and pains and some fatigue, and the side effects improved in about 12 hours.
With the information currently available from Moderna, we don’t know the exact length of time that people can expect to experience each side effect after receiving the vaccine.
Dr Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said it was also important to know more about the side effects of the vaccine, as it could inform how those responsible for the health plan to administer the vaccines. For example, hospitals might not want to give them to all of their employees at the same time, in case many of them feel tired after receiving the vaccine, he said.
“You wouldn’t want to vaccinate all of your emergency department staff just to miss them the next day,” Offit told Business Insider.
“A phased approach could solve this problem if we know about it,” he added.
Side effects don’t always turn us off
Side effects such as muscle pain and fever have not stopped us from getting vaccinated in the past.
Speaking of Moderna’s vaccine, Offit provided a useful comparison to the shingles vaccine, as it is also given to adults as two separate injections one month apart.
For example, Shingrix, made by GlaxoSmithKline, is an FDA-approved vaccine that prevents shingles, a painful red rash caused by reactivation of the virus that causes chickenpox.
According to GSK, the vaccine can cause local pain, redness and swelling. It can also cause muscle pain, fatigue, headache, chills, fever, and stomach problems. And yet, in general, these side effects don’t deter people from getting the vaccine, Offit said, because of its benefits.
“People get the shingles vaccine knowing they could miss a day’s work because shingles is one of the worst pains in medicine, and it’s a virus that has brought us to our knees,” a- he declared.
“People are generally good enough to get their second dose of the shingles vaccine, so that bodes well for people coming back to get their second dose of this vaccine,” he continued.
Both experts acknowledged the limited information in Moderna’s press release and said they wanted to see the full results and a review by regulatory agencies before they could recommend the vaccine.
p style = »text-align: left; »>» Since we have never used this vaccine before, we did not expect any side effects. We learn as we go, ”Offit said.