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Prosper Veteran Views Participation in COVID-19 Vaccine Trial as ‘Another Way to Serve'

Guthrie Zuehlke says he has not had a fever but has had minor side effects

NBCUniversal, Inc.

It's been a month since 46-year-old Guthrie Zuehlke of Prosper got his second of two shots in the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial.

"I feel perfect," Zuehlke said.

Symptoms like fatigue and a sore arm after each shot tell him he likely got the drug and not the placebo, though the trial administrators have not notified him of which he received.

"The side effects that I had were minor to moderate. I would say that they were on par with a flu shot," Zuehlke said.

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He said he never had a fever and the intense fatigue lasted about a week.

He received the shots 28 days apart.

As part of the trial, he tracks potential symptoms in an app accessed by the trial operators.

He said he signed up for the trial through the COVID-19 Prevention Network early in the pandemic, unsure whether he would be accepted.

Like the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna vaccine is an mRNA vaccine.

It's not made with the coronavirus itself.

Instead, it has pieces of genetic code that train the immune system to recognize the spiked proteins of the virus.

It's technology never used for a vaccine but Zuehlke said that didn't deter him.

"I know COVID is a horrible disease and I think that what drove me to get involved was simply to help," he said.

And as a disabled veteran, now retired from years of service in the military and homeschooling his 6-year-old son, his mission to help continues.

"I sort of view this as just another way to serve the community to help others," Zuehlke said.

He was informed that the Moderna study is 2 1/2 years long and would continue after the FDA emergency use authorization is issued.

It is not clear how long immunity will last.

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