Moderna is one of the leaders in the production of a COVID-19 vaccine. The company had good results from their Phase 1 trial- except for one man who had an extremely severe reaction, among four others.
Vaccine testing is split up into trials- to test and modify the vaccine. In most cases, Phase 1 is designed to test the dosage and patient reaction.
Moderna had made the vaccine, (named mRNA-1273 and based on m-RNA) to produce antibodies that’ll fight COVID-19. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, running the trial, conducted Phase 1 testing which consisted of 45 healthy volunteers, aged between 18 and 55. Four participants experienced “Grade 3” reactions. These side effects aren’t life-threatening, but they are significant.
Ian Haydon, a 29 year old man from Seattle, was among these Grade 3 reactants. He received his first dose of the test vaccine on April 8. He had experienced no reactions then. His second dose, given to him on May 5th, was a different story.
Haydon had not previously opened up about his story because he feared he would make people worried. He revealed this on his Twitter. He elaborates to STAT News, saying that he hopes any hatred or fear to vaccines isn’t caused by this.
The first sign of trouble was arm pain at the injection site. This was quickly disregarded as it was similar to what he experienced with the first dosage- except this time it came much quicker.
Haydon tells TODAY, “Then, 12 hours after getting the second injection, I suddenly had severe chills. I decided to go to sleep but woke up in the middle of the night with a fever that was over 103 degrees. I also found I was nauseous, fatigued and had quite a headache”.
His girlfriend called the vaccine study’s 24-hour hotline. After reminding them of all medical expense coverage, they advised him to go to urgent care, where he was greeted with a staff equipped with protective gear. The study’s lead doctor and the medical staff had masks, face shields, and gowns on.
He had blood drawn and was given a nasal swab to test for the virus. Luckily, he didn’t have COVID-19 and was treated with intravenous fluids and Tylenol. After being given the option to stay overnight at a local hospital, he and his girlfriend returned home. Once at home he fainted, his girlfriend caught him from bumping his head on the floor. His fever once again rose to 101 degrees and he vomited. Spending the afternoon on the couch, his fever went down to 99.1 degrees.
Haydon said this whole thing was as sick as he’s ever felt. With no side effects since, he’s been okay.
A possible reason for his extreme reaction could be that the dosage was ten times higher than those of others. Even though Haydon went though a lot, many are arguing this is all worth it for COVID-19 protection. Haydon doesn’t have any resentment towards the study or vaccine and will be volunteering again.
There isn’t enough information to have a vaccine ready for mass distribution anytime soon. That’s why we need brave volunteers like Haydon.
Haydon says that this was all important research and that he doesn’t regret volunteering. He is training for a marathon again and will be monitored periodically throughout the year.
Reporting to Bloomberg, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel states that the results “couldn’t have been better.”