Man explains what happened when he tested the COVID-19 vaccine

ATLANTA — An Alpharetta man told Channel 2 he spiked a 104-degree temperature after participating in a COVID-19 vaccine trial.

Ben, who didn’t want us to use his last name, said the fever came on the day after he got the shot.

“It caused a little bit of nausea, I laid down for a couple of hours, got up and it was 102,” the 64-year-old said. He said by the next day he was fine.

Ben is one of nearly 30,000 participants in the trial.

He told Channel 2 that Moderna tracks his health information on an app and contacted him after noting he had a fever.

“They were able to say it doesn’t look like anything serious, but call us if anything changes,” he said.


Dr. Susan Thomas, a professor at Georgia Tech, has more than 20 years' experience with vaccine technologies. She said Ben’s reaction is not uncommon for a vaccine.

“The purpose of a vaccine is to make the body respond like it’s already seen it so there is intrinsically going to be a reaction,” Thomas said.

She said the work being done to create COVID-19 vaccine is being done with the highest bar of safety.

“There’s so many great promising trials on going and there’s so many great candidates,” she said.

The Moderna trial involves two shots given a month apart. It’s also a double-blind trial, which means neither the participant nor the individual administering the shot know if it’s the actual vaccine.

Only 50% of all participants will get the vaccine. The rest receive a saline placebo.

Ben believes his reaction means he got the vaccine.

Multiple studies found the adverse reactions caused by the trial are mild and the immune response strong.

We reached out to Moderna about Ben’s reaction and have not heard back. On their website they state, “The most common solicited adverse events were headache, fatigue, myalgia, chills, and pain at the injection site, the majority of which were mild-to-moderate in severity and of self-limited duration.”

Ben received the second shot earlier this week and told Channel 2 aside from a mild fever he felt fine. He said he’d do it again.

“I also feel like everyone should have volunteered because they need a wide variety of people to be testing upon,” he said.

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