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Participants explain possible side effects they felt during COVID-19 vaccine trials

Health officials including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, are warning of possible side effects to the COVID-19 vaccine, which some people may be getting in a matter of weeks.

Channel 2′s Tom Regan spoke with an Alpharetta man who participated in a vaccine trial this fall and said he developed flu like symptoms a day after his first injection.

“My temperature shot up to a pretty high level, 104 degrees. I became nauseous, but I laid down for a couple of hours. Got over it. My fever reduced itself, and I didn’t take any meds for it,” Ben Hutsler said.

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Hutsler, of Alpharetta, is one of the tens of thousands of people who volunteered to participate in trials to test coronavirus vaccines developed by drug companies Moderna and Pfizer.

Dr. Nathan Segall, who runs a clinical testing company in metro Atlanta, helped test 735 people for the vaccines. Half of them got one of the vaccines and the other half received a placebo injection of saline.

Both drugs require two injections about a month apart. Segall said those who received the vaccine showed no serious side effects.

“50-60% of those who were receiving the actual vaccine would have mild, sometimes moderate side effects. Fatigue, headaches, muscle aches and chills. Nothing that was of any great concern, and I think a very reasonable price to pay to be protected against the virus,” Segall said.

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According to Dr. Segall, the side effects lasted one to two days and usually developed following the second vaccine injection.

Hutsler said he felt fine after his second injection. He said getting vaccinated against the deadly coronavirus is well worth a couple of days in bed with flu like symptoms.

“It’s a very minor inconvenience compared to rolling the dice with COVID,” said Hutsler.

Another vaccine trial volunteer says he will encourage others to get the shots when they become widely available.

“I know there’s a lot of fear and uncertainty there around it. But it’s incredibly important. I think there should be a push to get vaccinated, something similar to an ice bucket challenge,” Rodney Milton said.

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