The pain in Timothy Smith’s left arm had gotten worse — “It felt like somebody had bashed my arm for a solid hour,” he said — and fatigue was starting to set in, but the 34-year-old who describes himself as “pretty all-around healthy” wasn’t panicked. About a day earlier on Oct. 7, Smith had gone in for his first injection in Moderna’s novel coronavirus vaccine trial. And because he had done research beforehand and was prepped by the clinical team, Smith said he felt equipped to handle any of the vaccine’s reported side effects, which experts say are signs that the body’s immune system is working.
“We talk about these vaccines as being reactogenic, which is just a big word that means the way they work, you will feel that they’re working,” said Kelly Moore of the Immunization Action Coalition, who is also an external adviser for Pfizer’s vaccine effort. That reaction may be a sore arm, redness where the injection was given, or you may even feel flu-like, you may have a headache or body aches for a day or so.
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