Local Doctor Offers Insight Into Experimental Coronavirus Vaccine Trials

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Thousands are offering up their arms, bodies and lives to test the COVID-19 vaccines now emerging around the world. Pittsburgh is no exception with more than 2,000 volunteers for a UPMC test that needs only 750.

So just what are you getting into if you line up to help?

“It’s a great idea. I think its important to remember that these vaccines are not live vaccines so you should not be able to get the COVID-19 virus from the vaccine,” Dr. Jennifer Preiss of Allegheny Health Network said.

That’s not to says there aren’t things to consider according to Dr. Preiss.

“It’s the side effects we’re concerned about. And then it’s the follow-up data and the blood tests,” she said. “And you can really get annoyed at having to get multiple blood tests over the course of a year, if not longer, to see how long the immunity lasts.”


The idea of getting the virus is one that crosses everyone’s mind, but Dr. Preiss said its simply not how it works.

“It’s basically, a vaccine is taking protein from the virus that we know causes part of the disease but the disease has to have the virus and can’t be caused by the protein,” she said.

So what are the possible side effects?

“Typically when we talk about side effects from vaccines, there’s swelling, sometimes low-grade fever, malaise which basically means you feel terrible,” Dr. Preiss said.

Dr. Preiss said with other vaccines, like the shingle vaccine, people feel lousy for about two days. She says the benefit is well worth the discomfort.