DC Councilmember Mary Cheh said she suffered from muscle pain, headache and other side effects as she took part in Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine trial.
“I’m taking it not just for myself. It’s for others. This is something we have to do collectively to defeat this thing,” Cheh told WUSA9.
The vaccine candidate jointly developed by the Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna, Inc. and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently proved 94.5 percent effective against coronavirus in a Phase 3 clinical trial.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, praised the development, saying the percentage was “truly outstanding.”
Cheh is part of the volunteering team that helps to test the potential vaccine. She decided to participate in the trial after she was encouraged by a doctor friend of hers, who also got the shot.
The councilmember signed up around four months ago. She received her first dose in August, which was followed by the second and final dose in early September.
Half of all participants got placebo instead of the trial vaccine, and they do not know which group they are in. Cheh believes that she is in the vaccine group because her body showed strong reactions after both shots.
Among the symptoms Cheh experienced are severe fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain, headache, and soreness at the injection area. The side effects disappeared after 36 hours according to Cheh.
Volunteers in the trial are paid for their role and are compensated $100 for every injection they receive.
“Please when the vaccine comes out, please everybody take it,” says Cheh, noting that she thinks that is the only solution to the pandemic.
The new vaccine is expected to start being implemented for high-risk groups late December. It could be available for everyone in spring 2021.