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Bonney Lake woman in COVID-19 vaccine trial says mild side effects are worth it

Julie Peck volunteered for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial at Fred Hutch in Seattle. She experienced some side effects, including fever and chills.

SEATTLE — A Bonney Lake woman who participated in a COVID-19 vaccine trial is sharing her experience in hopes that it will encourage others to get vaccinated when it becomes available to the public.

"I feel like it's the one way that, you know, this is ever going to end," said Julie Peck. She volunteered to be part of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial at Fred Hutch in Seattle. 

"I can do my little part by going and helping them out and trying this vaccine, showing people that it's safe and so we can get back to normal again," said Peck. 

After receiving her first shot last month, Peck experienced some mild side effects, including chills and a fever for about 12 hours. 

"The worst thing about it was the headache I had, I had a headache for about 10 hours, and it was a bad one," Peck said. 

When asked if even after experiencing mild side-effects, if she felt the vaccine is worth it, Peck said, definitely. 

"I mean the one thing that when I woke up with a fever and the chills and feeling terrible and I was thinking, OK, these are just a mild symptom, you know, this kind of almost makes me feel like if I did get COVID, like, I would have it bad, like, I would be really really sick," Peck said. 

Health experts said minor side effects are reported for every vaccine, though, usually minimal compared to the number of people who get them. 

"If you do experience some of these minor discomforts or side effects from the vaccine, they are all mild and they pass. Now, that might not be the case for a very, very, very small number of people. But for for the vast majority of us, it will be fleeting sorts of injuries or harms," said Dan Bustillos, an assistant professor of nursing and health studies at the University of Washington Bothell.

Bustillos said the benefits of a vaccine, once approved in the U.S., will far outweigh the risks.  

"I'll be one of the first in line as soon as it's available for people like me," Bustillos said. 

Peck believes she received the actual vaccine and not the placebo, even though she can't be 100% sure. She said she feels relieved. 

"The mild symptoms for a few hours, compared to what it would be if I had a COVID, you know, there's just no comparison," Peck said.