DALLAS — North Texas doctors and an area mother who all participated in the Pfizer's vaccine trial said they experienced similar side effects while taking both required shots for the trial.
Participants in the clinical trial are not told if they were given the COVID-19 vaccine or a placebo vaccine, which consists of saline. Therefore, they cannot say for sure if the symptoms they felt are directly related to the vaccine.
WFAA talked to UT Southwestern’s Dr. Kathryn Dao and Dallas County Medical Society President Dr. Mark Casanova about their experience in Pfizer’s vaccine trial.
Both reported feeling muscle aches, fatigue, and fevers. Headaches and pain/soreness near the injection site were common, too.
Dao and Casanova said they saw an improvement in symptoms after taking ibuprofen and Tylenol.
Evan Fein, another Pfizer vaccine trial participant, reported during Thursday’s FDA hearing that he experienced “mild fatigue, fever, muscle pain, and chills” at various times during the clinical trial.
Again, Dao, Casanova, and Fein can’t be 100% certain that they received the COVID-19 vaccine. But the side effects they reported continue to be investigated by health officials.
“Just like any drug that received FDA approval, there's going to be long-term, follow-up of everybody who's received the drug,” said Dao.
For now, doctors are reminding North Texans that these side effects are actually a good sign.
“You did not get sick from the vaccine, but you felt bad from the vaccine,” Casanova said. “And that's all related to your immune system going to work, kicking into high gear, which is exactly what we want it to do.”
A U.S. government advisory panel convened on Thursday to decide whether to endorse the mass use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to help conquer the outbreak that has killed close to 300,000 Americans.
“Would you rather have the vaccine or would you rather get the virus? To me, the answer was very clear – it’s the vaccine,” said Dao.
A volunteer's recommendation
Chrissy Brown, 33, watched Thursday's historic FDA hearing with excitement.
In mid-September, the Frisco mother volunteered to be part of Pfizer's widespread vaccine trials.
She spoke about her experience with WFAA last month, unsure that she actually received the vaccine.
However, after a positive antigen test, she is encouraged that she wasn't part of the placebo group.
Brown, who works from home, said she volunteered to do her part in the pandemic.
"I wanted in some way to help us get on the other side of the pandemic and help in any way that I can," Brown said. "There's no way to get the vaccine rolled out without people volunteering to be part of the trial."
Brown had similar side effects as Casanova and Dao. She said she started experiencing them after her second shot of the vaccine.
"I had a fever. It was 102.7. I had body aches and chills for a 14-hour period before everything started to feel better," said Brown.
She recommended possibly taking the day off after getting the vaccine considering her side effects.
"Just take it to relax in case you do get noticeable symptoms as I did," said Brown.
Brown said that she is either called crazy or a hero when she reveals that she was part of the trials, she said, depending on who she's talking to.
However, most of her closest friends and family are listening to her experience and placing more faith in the vaccine.
Her recommendation? Take it.
"I have friends in healthcare who I want to be protected," Brown said. "I have grandparents in an elderly facility who I want to be protected."
To Brown, she opted for the risk she can see in front of her not the unknown.
"We can all handle 14 hours of not feeling good. We don't know if we can handle the effects of COVID," she said.