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Utah Lawmaker Who Tested Moderna Vaccine Reports COVID-19 Antibodies, Few Side Effects

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Utah lawmaker said he was among the 30,000 people who participated in the clinical trials for Moderna’s vaccine and reported having a positive experience.

Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, believes he got the real vaccine, with very few side effects, and said he has the antibodies now to prove it.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” said Eliason.

Eliason said he has no regrets after participating in Moderna’s clinical trial. He was one of the thousands of people who tested the vaccine, which is said to be nearly 95% effective.

“As an elected official, as I’ve studied it and people have asked me what are you going to do about it, I concluded that our best hope was to have a vaccine to move forward,” said Eliason. “I thought well, somebody’s got to participate in those trials, and when I heard about the opportunity, I thought, I might as well give it a try.”

Eliason said he got two injections 28 days apart. He said the trial was double-blind, so neither he nor the medical staff knew if he was given the real vaccine or a placebo.

After the injections, Eliason said he experienced some mild side effects, like soreness in his arm, chills and a low-grade fever.

“They were easily managed though with a dose of Tylenol or Advil and lasted less than a day,” he added.

Eliason said he never had COVID-19, but the side effects alone made him believe he got the real vaccine. On a Monday he said his suspicions were confirmed.

Eliason had an antibody test done and his results came back positive for COVID-19 antibodies. He said that proves the vaccine works and he’s excited about what it means for the future.

“Getting the vaccine approved and knowing that it’s safe is a critical component of getting our society back to normal,” he said. “So I’m hoping this is at least the beginning of the end.”

Eliason’s experience matched what other people in the vaccine trial reported, mild side effects.

Moderna will continue to check in with him for the next two years to see how long the antibodies last and what long term effects the vaccine might have.

Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

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