'I Feel Fantastic,' COVID-19 Vaccine Volunteer Says

Woman in Seattle trial reports no major side effects but still wears a mask to be sure
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2020 9:21 AM CDT
4 Months in, Vaccine Volunteer Feels 'Fantastic'
Jennifer Haller confers with a pharmacist after she was given the first shot of an experimental vaccine on March 16 in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The first person in the US to receive an experimental vaccine for COVID-19 has provided a medical update, and it's encouraging. "It's been 16 weeks since I had the first dose," Jennifer Haller says. "I feel fantastic." The Washington state woman, an operations manager for a tech startup, has experienced no major side effects, KOMO reports. Two doses of the Moderna vaccine were given to 45 healthy adults a month apart in Seattle. There isn't any of the virus in the vaccine, so the volunteers aren't at risk of contracting the illness that way. "Moderna released results a few weeks ago that showed the first eight of us have antibodies, and that presumably that means that the vaccine should be effective against the virus," says Haller, 43.

Researchers have concerns about the potential risks of producing a COVID-19 vaccine quickly, but the ones being developed by Moderna, Pfizer, and other companies seem so far to be safe. Experimental vaccines for other coronaviruses in the past have made the illness worse, per the Wall Street Journal. An expert at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease said he hasn't seen any signs of such problems yet with the COVID-19 work. Almost 20 experimental vaccines around the world are in human testing now. Haller is confident but still avoiding risky behavior. "I'm taking same precautions as everyone else—wearing a mask out in public," she said. "I'm not assuming that I have any special immunity." (More coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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