WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Vaccines for COVID-19 are now in the hands of health professionals all over the country. But the work didn’t start there. Pfizer and BioNTech recruited thousands of people to participate in their vaccine trial.
Katherine Canaday didn’t hesitate to sign up for the trial. The Wilmington woman is a clinical research associate so her typical day is on the other side of the fence.
“I’m not traveling,” said Canaday. “They want people...why not? So I called and I said, ‘I’d like to do it.’”
She got started with Pfizer back in August. Canaday said getting started involved some paperwork and a physical; she said it was a simple process.
“Everybody got two injections,” said Canaday. “I got one that first day and they asked me to stay 30 minutes after the injection, just to make sure that I didn’t have any side effects with that. And so after 30 minutes, and I was still alive, I left. And then three weeks later, I had the second vaccine.”
Canaday said after the first vaccination she was fine, but then after the second shot...she noticed a slight difference.
“I had a really large area of redness and swelling around the injection site and as the day progressed, I started getting joint pain and headaches, really fatigued, and a fever maybe 100-101 tops,” said Canaday.
She said she alerted the people with the trial and they told her they were expecting some people to have those reactions.
“The fatigue kind of stayed there for several days,” said Canaday. “The fever went down after the first day. And I was pretty good after that.”
Canaday says she doesn’t know if she got the vaccine or the placebo; it was a 50-50 chance. But feels strongly that is was the real vaccine.
But Greg Bacot says he knows he got the vaccine.
“My regular doctor checked for antibodies the Tuesday before Thanksgiving,” said Bacot. “That’s the second time and they’re still there.”
Bacot lives in Mocksville, North Carolina, but grew up watching WECT. He reached out to us wanting to share his experience with the vaccine trial. Bacot says he has participated in other studies and trials with Pfizer before. He got an email from them and didn’t hesitate to sign up.
“It worked exactly like the flu shot; nothing more, nothing less,” said Bacot. “It was just very easy. And then the long-term side effects, there’s nothing.”
Bacot said he got his first shot at the end of August and the second three weeks later.
His side effects were very similar to Canaday’s.
“I had the soreness in the arm,” said Bacot. “The second shot...everything was a little bit double. It was sore in the arm. I thought I had a fever after the second one for maybe 20 minutes. I did check the temperature and I did not. I was a tad bit sluggish the next day, but not enough where you couldn’t function; you could drive a car and everything like that.”
Bacot said he’s excited for everyone to have a chance to get the vaccine because hopefully, it’ll help life get back to normal.
“We have businesses closing, we can’t have Christmas concerts,” said Bacot. “We canceled parades. We have to have this stop by all measures and get this out of here.”