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Portland man who took part in COVID-19 vaccine trial explains his side effects, says people should get shots

Bob Ball had some pain at the site of injection, but he said it was still bearable and worth it to be protected from the coronavirus.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Portland-area man who took part in the Moderna stage three vaccine trial said everyone who has a chance to get the vaccine should absolutely do it.

Bob Ball got involved after a friend in California asked him if he wanted to join the trials. As the first injection date grew closer, he understandably wondered about the consequences.

“Definitely, before I went in to get that first shot I was a little nervous, you know, what it might do to my body,” Ball said.

He is one of tens of thousands of Americans taking part in either the Moderna or Pfizer stage three clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine.

The trials revealed the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective and Moderna 94%, both impressive results.

RELATED: VERIFY: COVID-19 vaccine Q&A as Pfizer and Moderna seek FDA approval

Possible side effects include soreness at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever. You can read Pfizer’s report to the FDA about its trial here.

Ball said he experienced pain.

“It took maybe three or four hours and then I had pain at the injection site," he explained. "And it wasn’t like a bad pain. It wasn’t as bad as my shingles shot that I got, but it was painful to the touch and I had that for three days."

He also felt nausea that first night but it went away. His arm also hurt after the second shot a month later, but Ball said it was less painful.

The study lasts two years. So, when Ball got a sore throat a month ago he worried something was wrong. He returned to study doctors who gave him a COVID-19 test, which turned out negative. They would not tell Ball whether he got the actual vaccine or a placebo in the study.

Ball next got an outside test on his own.

“I tested negative for COVID but they said wow- you have a lot of antibodies," Ball recalled. "And so that’s the moment I knew I got the vaccine. And honestly, like then I didn’t sleep because it was a feeling almost of euphoria."

And that is why he wanted you to read his story. So, you will get the relief of knowing you are protected. And won't be afraid of side effects.

“The worst symptoms are maybe people feel punky or a little lethargic or flu-like for a day," Ball said. "But I also found that means your body is doing good work. Because you don’t have a virus in you. Those symptoms come from your body producing the antibodies. And that means it’s working. So, if you’re feeling kind of down, that’s actually a good thing."

The Food and Drug administration will decide Thursday whether Pfizer's vaccine will get emergency use approval -- and start shipping to states around the country. The same agency will decide Moderna's request for their vaccine Dec. 17.

Have a comment or story Pat should cover? Send him a note pdooris@kgw.com.

RELATED: Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses — that could be a problem