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Local Research Study Confirms COVID-19 Vaccine Safety

Ryan Van Velzer

New research suggests side-effects from the COVID-19 vaccine among south central Kentucky residents mirror the results of clinical trials conducted last year. 

A project by Bowling Green-based Med Center Health, Western Kentucky University, and the University of Kentucky College of Medicine - Bowling Green Campus was conducted through the Western Kentucky Heart and Lung/Med Center Health Research Foundation. 

Researchers wanted to see if the response to the vaccine in regional vaccine clinics matched the responses seen in patients during the clinical trials of the vaccinations last year.

The results of the study found that side-effects from the vaccine seen in ambulatory clinics did in fact mirror the side-effects seen in those trials. 

Dr. Melinda Joyce, executive director of the foundation and the principal investigator of the study said conducting COVID research in the region is beneficial. 

“When I talked to people about vaccine hesitancy, you know one of the things that I heard over and over is, ‘Well you know where those clinic trials rushed and who actually participated in those trails’,” Joyce explained. 

4,825 patients took the survey. Most of them reported that side effects from the vaccine didn’t interfere with their daily activities, and if they did, it was only for a day or day in a half. Individuals receiving the Moderna had more symptoms than the individuals receiving Pfizer, but still had mild symptoms. 

Patients who previously had COVID before getting the vaccine reported more side effects with the first dose, but those symptoms were still minimal. 

Joyce hopes the information for the study will encourage more people in the region to get vaccinated. 

“We really thought that if people saw that their friends and colleagues were reporting the same kinds of responses that were seen in the clinical trials, maybe some of those folks who were hesitant to get the vaccine, that this would give them some comfort,” she said. 

The study also found that majority of participants got the vaccine to protect themselves and others.

Joyce doesn’t think Med Center Health will see an increase in vaccination rates like they saw in March and April of this year. The survey was conducted through May and June of 2021.

46% of Warren County residents are fully vaccinated.

Former student intern Alana Watson rejoined WKU Public Radio in August 2020 as the Ohio Valley ReSource economics reporter. She transitioned to the station's All Things Considered Host in July of 2020. Watson is a 2017 graduate of Western Kentucky University and has a B.A. in Broadcasting Journalism. She also has her M.A in Communications from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. Watson is a Nashville native and has interned at WPLN-FM in Nashville. In 2019, she won a Tennessee AP Broadcaster & Editors Award for her sports feature on Belmont University's smallest point guard. While at WKU Public Radio she won Best College Radio Reporter in 2016 from the Kentucky Ap Broadcasters Association for her work on post-apartheid South Africa. Watson was previously at Wisconsin Public Radio as thier 2nd Century Fellow where she did general assignment and feature reporting in Milwaukee.