Med Center Health research project highlights vaccine safety, side effects

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 5:40 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - A research project that was conducted through the Western Kentucky Heart and Lung/Med Center Health Research Foundation is shedding new light on the side effects of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“There’s been so much discussion about vaccine hesitancy, and one of the things that you hear is people that are worried about side effects,” said Dr. Melinda Joyce with Med Center Health.

Nearly 20,000 questionnaires were sent to people who received a vaccine through Med Center Health--questions such as which brand of the vaccine the person received if they had been previously infected with the Coronavirus, and what side effects if any, the person experienced after their first and second dose.

“Some of the conclusions that we came up with is that overall the vaccine is very safe, that most people as I mentioned earlier, had no or very mild symptoms,” said Dr. Joyce.

Dr. Doug McElroy, a biology professor at WKU says the most important step to the research was asking the correct questions.

“Really critical in ensuring that we had a well crafted and reliable survey so that we could believe the results. And you know, obviously, that’s pretty critical as well,” saod McElroy.

WKU students involved in the project, and one high school student say this research gave them valuable information into the future of their medical careers. And for one student, it potentially saved a family member.

“It means a lot to me at the beginning of the pandemic when some of my family wasn’t getting vaccinated. It was very nerve-wracking because I don’t, I don’t want to see anything happen to anyone’s family and especially not my own. So seeing them get vaccinated more and more as time goes on. And being able to answer their questions means a lot to me,” said Julia Johnson.

“It was awesome to start this research. As a WKU student, I actually worked in the hospital during COVID. So being able to work in this and then do research on it with WKU and transfer over to as a UK medical student has been awesome. I’ve learned, you know how the research process goes on, how it can help physicians in their practice, how it can help the community as a whole and it’s been very cool and rewarding,” said John Newman.

“We learned that the overall symptoms are mild and coming from a population that has a pretty low vaccination right, especially with my peers as high schoolers. I think it will really help me change some of their minds,” said Nasri Atalla.

The results of the project are as follows:

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