Mayo Clinic experts back COVID-19 vaccines ahead of FDA approval

Vaccines may cause mild symptoms but are safe overall, Mayo doctor says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The FDA will start its review Thursday of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which is said to be 95% effective, according to the company.

It’s the first of two vaccines the agency is set to discuss for emergency use this month.

The Moderna vaccine is up for review next week, and the company says it is also highly effective.

Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, the FDA says its analysis found the Pfizer vaccine is safe, and health experts with Mayo Clinic echoed that.

Each state is in charge of giving out the vaccine. Governor Ron DeSantis expects Florida to get 180-thousand doses in the first shipment. News4Jax reporter Jennifer Ready is live outside UF Health Jacksonville.

Doctors said people may experience some mild symptoms but, overall, they believe it is safe for people to get the vaccine when its approved.

“We are very confident that the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine will get the emergency use authorization,” said Dr. Abinash Virk with Mayo Clinic.

Virk said both vaccines are safe overall, but may cause some mild symptoms.

“The three that are the most common are fatigue, headache, and body aches,” Virk said.

This comes as health officials in the UK warn people with severe allergies not to get the Pfizer vaccine right now after two people with a history of serious allergies had a reaction, but have since recovered.

“Looking back at the briefing document, of the 43,000 people who got vaccinated, they don’t really mention any similar anaphylactic reactions. So, it’s really hard to figure out if it was a unique situation,” Virk said.

Allergist Dr. Sunil Joshi said people who have to carry around an epi pen every day are recommended not get the vaccine at this point

“When we’re talking about a severe allergic reaction, we’re talking about reactions that may have occurred to food, medication, that has required you to carry an epi pen,” Joshi said.

But, Joshi added, this should not stop people from getting the vaccine if they do not have a history of severe allergic reaction.

Pfizer said it is working with investigators to understand each case better.

It is important to note, that it is not uncommon to advise people with severe allergies to be cautious when it comes to new vaccines.

Jacksonville residents wary

News4Jax stopped by the Legends Center coronavirus testing site on the Northside on Thursday, which was busier than usual because the Regency Mall site was closed because of power issues.

Most of the people we spoke with who were getting tested or re-tested for COVID-19 said they plan to hold off on getting the vaccine after it’s available.

“I would look at the science behind it and do my research first,” said Gage White. “I would not jump right into it.”

Others were also skeptical about the vaccine.

“I would not get vaccinated just yet. I would rather let the CDC and the FDA have a test trial of it to see if there’s any side effects to the vaccine,” Dusan lazic said. “I don’t want to get anything that could potentially affect my health.”

But Martha Legett, who works at a preschool, and Heather Lado, who works in a senior facility, told us they will likely get the vaccine as early as they can.

“I am slightly hesitant about it. The only reason I say that is because of my prior experience with the flu vaccine,” Lado said. “I had received the flu vaccine before and immediately got sick. So I’m a little bit hesitant about vaccines altogether, but I think in this situation it’s important for everyone to get one.”

About the Authors:

Reports weekdays on The Morning Show

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.