Science 27 Nov 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6520, pp. 1022
Computational biologist Luke Hutchison participated in Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine trial which caused his arm to swell up significantly. Within a few hours, Hutchison, who was healthy and 43, had muscle pain and a 40°C fever.
“I started shaking. I had cold and hot rushes,” he says. “I was sitting by the phone all night long thinking: ‘Should I call 911?’”
Hutchison’s symptoms resolved after 12 hours. But, he says, “Nobody prepared me for the severity of this.”
“What about vaccine reactogenicity? asks Deborah Fuller, a vaccinologist at the University of Washington”
my comment : The firms added that the trials showed no serious safety concerns, despite the 3 cases of severe physiological reactions to the vaccine in New Brunswick.
Both vaccines consist of a snippet of genetic code directing production of the coronavirus’ spike protein, delivered in a tiny fat bubble called a lipid nanoparticle. Some researchers suspect the immune system’s response to that delivery vehicle is causing the short-term side effects.W
When the companies win regulatory approvals, they’re vaccines will be used on 35 million people globally by the end of this year.
An independent analysis of Moderna’s huge trial found that severe side effects were experienced by 1 in 10 (muscle and joint pain, headaches).
“This is higher reactogenicity than is ordinarily seen with most flu vaccines, even the high-dose ones,” says Arnold Monto, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
Both Moderna’s and Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccines require two doses separated by several weeks. Side effects get worse after the second shot according to Weissman..
“the lipid nanoparticle causes the reactogenicity, because lipid nanoparticles without mRNA in them do the same thing in animals,” “there’s increases in the muscle, of inflammatory mediators that cause pain, fever, headaches.”
Hutchison hopes better vaccines are on the way. Still, he says, “Given that COVID can kill or incapacitate people, everybody should bite the bullet and expect a rough night. … Get lots of naproxen.”