For almost 50 years, George Brown has worked for the best interests of older adults. Happily retired from Clermont County Senior Services, Brown, 74, continues to serve. He volunteered to be part of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial at University of Cincinnati Medical Center (UCMC). He feels his participation in the trial goes hand-in-hand with his career of service.
The Moderna vaccine is administered in two doses a few weeks apart. He received his first dose in September 2020, his second in early October.
The process began with a visit to UCMC for a physical, bloodwork, consent paperwork and a COVID-19 test. After that, he visited UCMC for a second time to receive his first injection.
After the first injection, he felt only slight fatigue. “Similar to the tiredness I may feel after a long day of hiking,” said the avid outdoorsman.
After the second injection a few weeks later, he woke up the next morning with a temperature of 100.4 degrees, aches and extreme fatigue. “Kind of like the flu,” he said. “It lasted 24 hours and really took me off my feet for the day, but the next morning I felt as good as ever.”
Although it was a blind study, meaning participants do not know if they receive the vaccine or a placebo, Brown’s symptoms after receiving his injections lead him to believe he did in fact receive the vaccine. He is scheduled to visit UCMC soon to find out for sure.
Throughout the entire process, Brown was constantly comforted by the professionalism of the staff. Any trepidation he was feeling about the study (and there wasn’t much) was eased as he knew he was in very capable hands.
At no point was he concerned for his safety. If anything, he was most concerned about the nasal swab he was to receive as a part of the standard COVID-19 testing. “My 91-year old relative had a COVID-19 test,” he said, “and I thought – ‘if she can do it, I can do it!’”
In Brown’s view, the possible, and mostly mild side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine do not compare to the possible deadly effects of getting the disease. The 19-year resident of Clermont County encourages everyone to get the vaccine, if possible.
“When it’s available, by all means – get the vaccine,” he urges. “At a societal level, we need to support one another, it’s not just about us as individuals, it’s about our family and friends and society.”
At the beginning of the trial, participants were asked not to share their participant experiences on social media until results were publicly announced. Now that the vaccine is rolling out around the world, he received permission to share his experience and did so on his Facebook page.
“I (hope to) ease your mind about receiving the vaccine when it becomes available to you,” he wrote on Facebook. “Don’t be afraid to receive a COVID vaccine. This is well worth the experience to attain 95% immune efficacy against COVID-19.”