An announcement that a vaccine against COVID-19 is drawing praise while reports emerge of the side effects. Over 43,500 volunteers are taking part in Pfizer’s vaccine trial with some describing it as a “severe hangover.”
Biotech firm Pfizer has said the vaccine is 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 infection and is shooting for an emergency use authorization sometime in November, raising the chance of a regulatory decision as soon as December.
“Today is a great day for science and humanity,” Pfizer’s Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said in a Nov. 9 statement.
The Pfizer study enrolled 43,538 participants, with the company noting no serious safety concerns have been observed, and that additional safety and efficacy data continue to be collected.
Meanwhile, trial participants have been describing the side-effects of the experimental vaccine.
A volunteer from Missouri named Carrie, who declined to provide her last name, was cited by Daily Mail as saying she suffered a headache, fever, and aches all over her body after the first shot, with the second injection causing symptoms that were “more severe.”
Stanley Wang, an Australian man who lives in Los Angeles, told Australia’s ABC News that the side-effects were like experiencing a “severe hangover.”
“Side effects are equivalent to a severe hangover where you get headaches and don’t feel so well from it, and that lasts on average two days, but some people have reported up to five days,” he told the outlet.
Glenn Deshields, a 44-year-old volunteer from Austin, Texas, told Fox News in an interview that after taking the first shot, he experienced “a lot of injection site pain” and that the side-effects “were a little more severe than I thought.” He said he felt unwell for “maybe three to four days,” adding that the symptoms following the second injection were “much more muted.”
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine needs to be stored at temperatures of -94 degrees Fahrenheit (-70 degrees Celsius) or lower, potentially posing a logistical challenge in keeping the “cold chain” intact during deliveries, particularly in countries that experience intense heat and have poor infrastructure.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Nov. 12 announced that distribution would involve both large chain pharmacies and networks representing independent pharmacies and regional chains.
Partnership with pharmacy chains covers around 60 percent of pharmacies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These include names like Albertsons, Costco, CVS, Publix, Walgreens, and Walmart, with a complete list available in the HHS release.