13-20% of COVID-19 vaccine trial participants reported side effects

COVID-19 Vaccine

DENVER (KDVR) — No matter who you are or where you live, you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about the coronavirus over the past year.

However, for Jeanne Posthumus, it bordered on obsession.

“I started worrying about the coronavirus before everyone else was. I’d wake up at 2 to 3 in the morning and start Googling. I know that’s a horrible thing to do, but I would Google ‘vaccine,’ ‘coronavirus,’ anything I could read about it,” Posthumus explained.

Posthumus had a good reason to be concerned. Her 15-year-old daughter is disabled and as COVID-19 began to spread, she and her husband worried about what would happen if they were both hospitalized by the virus and couldn’t care for her.

“I was doing end-of-life planning. I was getting her care plan together and writing what she likes, what she doesn’t like, and that was just a horrible, horrible place to be in,” she said.

When Posthumus learned about the chance to participate in a vaccine trial, she says she jumped at the opportunity. She received her first injection on Sept. 1, not knowing if she had received the placebo or the real thing.

It wasn’t until 21 days later — after receiving the second injection — that she thought she knew.

“That morning, I woke up at 3 in the morning with shaking chills and a 102-degree temperature. 102, that was pushing it a bit,” she explained.

However, it turns out Posthumus’ experience is relatively common.

“Certainly the clinical trials suggest you’re more likely to have a reaction with the second dose than the first,” said Dr. Michelle Barron, director of Infection Prevention at UCHealth.

Side effects often include low-grade fevers or chills and headaches. Anywhere from 13-20% of people who participated in vaccine trials have reported side effects. However, those symptoms are typically short-lived and many experience no side effects.

“I think everyone’s very different, depending on how they react,” explained Barron.

For Posthumus, the vaccine is now a distant memory. However, she still checks in weekly as a trial participant with updates on how she is feeling, and she says she has no regrets about participating in the vaccine trial.

“I would do it again. I would do it again right now,” she said.

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