Volunteers given Pfizer’s breakthrough Covid vaccine compare the jab’s effects ‘a severe hangover’

Volunteers on the Pfizer vaccine trial have compared the jab’s side effects to a ‘severe hangover’ and said it left them with headaches, fever and muscle aches similar to the flu vaccine. 

One 45-year-old volunteer said the first dose left her suffering side effects similar to the flu jab but that her symptoms were ‘more severe’ after her second jab.

Another volunteer, 44-year-old Glenn Deshields, said Pfizer’s vaccine made him feel like he had a ‘severe hangover’ but that symptoms quickly cleared up.

More than 43,500 people in six countries have taken part in the phase three trials by the pharmaceutical giant in the hunt for an effective Covid-19 vaccine.

And yesterday’s results suggested the jab was 90 per cent effective, raising hopes that life could return to normal in the spring. 

The UK is set to receive 10million doses should the drug gain approval, with the British Army and the NHS on standby to start issuing them to those most in need in December. 

Carrie, 45, also from the US, was also involved in Pfizer's vaccine trial

Glenn Geshields, 44, said he was proud to have taken part. Carrie, 45, also from the US, was also involved in Pfizer’s vaccine trial


A coronavirus vaccine won’t immediately bring the pandemic to an end and scientists and officials must be honest about how long it will take to roll one out and get life back to normal, experts say.

Eight out of 10 people may need to have the jab before it becomes effective and getting this done will be a massive task for medical workers.

A report published today has called for realistic timescales to be laid out for the public about how long it might actually take to vaccinate enough people to thwart the spread of Covid-19.

Anti-vaxx conspiracy theories spreading online will make it harder to get rid of coronavirus, it warned, and more than a third of people in the UK already say they aren’t sure whether they would get a vaccine.

And even if take-up is good, lockdowns and social distancing will still have to continue to keep the virus under control while medics scramble to get the vaccine to millions of people. 

There is also the chance that that the jab won’t work perfectly – experts have warned that the first vaccines may not be totally effective, meaning other measures might still be needed.

Oxford University sociologist Professor Melinda Mills and colleagues said clear communication about the vaccine will be a key part of ‘expectation management’ in coming months.

Scientists’ attempts to make vaccines are hurtling forward at unprecedented speed around the world and results from late-stage clinical trials are expected from some teams before the end of 2020.

Experts say that it’s likely at least one working vaccine will be ready to give to people by spring 2021, but it may not work perfectly and won’t be available to everyone.

Britain’s spy agency GCHQ has now launched an online campaign against anti-vaxx conspiracies that are being spread online by users in Russia.

Volunteer Carrie, a publicist from Missouri in the US who asked for her last name not to be used, said she received her first shot back in September and her second last month.

She said she suffered a headache, fever and aches all over her body, comparable to the flu jab, with the first one.

But after the second these became ‘more severe’.

The publicist said she signed up because she felt it was her ‘civic duty’ and that Monday’s announcement of the success made her feel ‘very proud’. 

Explaining why she signed up, she said: ‘There are so many people who have had it and suffered.

‘The thought that we could do something to stop people from suffering from this, from losing family members, that we could get rid of it and get back to some sort of normal in our lives – that’s a driving factor for this for me.

‘I don’t want anyone else to be sick.’

Mr Deshields, a lobbyist from Texas, said he suffered side effects not dissimilar to a ‘severe hangover’.

He believes he received the vaccine as when he had an antibody test with doctors it came back positive.  

He added that his own immune reaction to the shot made him confident about the vaccine, but he was nevertheless ‘very excited’ by Monday’s news.

He added: ‘My grandfather, one of his first memories was of the bells ringing when World War I ended.

‘It was a horrific war and horrible things happened and people were just happy it was over with.

‘In my mind I felt the same way… I kind of felt it was something like that. Thank god, it’s going to be over at some point.’

The trials were double-blind, meaning those taking part did not know whether they had or had not received the vaccine.

In clinical trials only around half the volunteers are given the vaccine being tested while the rest receive an injection of a solution that does not contain the vaccine.

Scientists do this so they can compare how at risk the two groups are of catching the virus, to see whether the vaccine had an impact. 

Bryan, 42, an engineer from Georgia, believes he was one of the individuals that did not receive the vaccine.

He felt no immune response to the jabs, he said, and after having two shots he contracted Covid-19 after his daughter caught it last month.

They have both since recovered.

Talking about taking part in the trials, he said he felt a ‘little bit of pride’ on hearing the results but added that taking part in the study was ‘the least I could do to help out’ as ‘a lot of people are needlessly suffering from the virus’ in America. 

Volunteers have said taking the vaccine left them with what felt like a 'severe hangover'. Pfizer's vaccine has proved 90 per cent effective in early trials. Pictured above is Bryan, 42, who received a placebo

Volunteers have said taking the vaccine left them with what felt like a ‘severe hangover’. Pfizer’s vaccine has proved 90 per cent effective in early trials. Pictured above is Bryan, 42, who received a placebo

He added that watching President Donald Trump’s ‘bungled’ response to the pandemic as been ‘disheartening’. 

‘I’m embarrassed by how the US president has handled the pandemic,’ he said.

‘But I’m hopeful now because in addition to the good news with the Pfizer vaccine, we have a new president-elect and I’m sure he won’t ignore scientists, he won’t downplay the virus, he won’t make fun of people wearing masks – so combined I think it’ll save a lot of lives.’