Seattle COVID-19 vaccine volunteer given high dose, discusses side effects

SEATTLE — Ian Haydon works at the University of Washington in the Institute for Protein Design. The healthy 29-year-old signed up for the COVID-19 vaccine trial because he said this is one way he knew he could help out.

He was relieved when Moderna announced early findings last week.

“I have developed antibodies as a result of this vaccination. It’s unclear yet if those antibodies are going to be useful, but I’m sort of like everyone else waiting eagerly for this kind of news,” Ian Haydon told CNN on Monday night.

Forty-five people participated in the Kaiser Permanente trial. Haydon says he was in the group given the larger dose of the vaccine.

“I did have a bit of a rough go of things for 24 hours there - fever, nausea, things like that, that passed after about a day,” described Haydon.

Researchers found even those given a low dose of the vaccine, still created the same amount of antibodies as someone who had COVID-19 and recovered. In contrast to Haydon, those participants did not experience side-effects.

Jennifer Haller of Seattle was the first person to ever get the vaccine. “Both doses my arm was sore at the site of injection, otherwise I didn’t experience anything,” Jennifer Haller said last week.

Neal Browning of Bothell was also given a low dose. “We definitely have a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Neal Browning when Moderna released early results May 18.

The success of the low dose and side effects of the high dose, have researchers adjusting course.

"I'm happy to see Moderna is discontinuing the highest dose at this point. I think that’s good news overall, but there's still a lot to be hopeful about for this candidate vaccine moving forward. Of course still it will take months until we know if it's really working," said Haydon.

The vaccine trial participants still have 10 or 11 months of monitoring left. Researchers want to see how long the antibodies stay in their blood.

Moderna’s president says he hopes the vaccine will be available for emergency use for first responders and medical professionals as early as fall. The company says it could have the vaccine available for broad use early next year.