One of the first Valneva vaccine trial volunteers said people should “trust the doctors” if they are offered a Covid-19 jab.
Jack Caine, a teacher in Hampshire, received his first dose of the drug on January 21 and is due his second dose at the beginning of February.
The 33-year-old told the PA news agency: “You’ve got to trust doctors, and whatever vaccine you get you have got to trust the people that are making it and you have got to weigh up the risks.
“I’m not really nervous about it because there are people in hospital dying from Covid.
“There is probably more risk getting Covid than having the vaccine.”
Mr Caine added: “If we don’t have them we are going to be stuck in lockdown, and whatever else.
“I am a teacher and we’re quite keen for students to get back to school and things to get back to normal.
Got my first jab of the Valneva vaccine as part of the trial today! One of the first 135 people! Basically if you get offered a vaccine take it! https://t.co/5ECACLywo1
— Jack Caine (@jackcaine) January 21, 2021
“There is more benefit in taking a risk and having it, than not having it and being in school with however many kids and interacting with them all day.”
He is currently teaching students in school two days a week and conducting online learning three days a week from home.
He initially signed up to be a vaccine volunteer during the first summer lockdown.
“Someone has got to test it and the impact it is going to have,” he said.
“I am a teacher as well and fairly young, so I think in terms where I would be on the pecking order, well I might as well give it a go because it is going to probably be a long time before I’m going to get one.”
He said no placebos are given to volunteers, but instead they are offered one of three different doses, a low dose, medium dose or high dose, but are not told which they are getting.
The key worker, who is part of the senior leadership team at a high school, said he has experienced no adverse side effects from the vaccine.
“On the second day I had a heavy arm, and it was a bit tender but it was what you’d expect from a vaccine, nothing particularly untoward,” he added.
Large scale manufacturing of the coronavirus vaccine from the French biotech company has begun in Scotland.
If approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, it could deliver up to 60 million doses to the UK by the end of the year.
The vaccine is being tested on 150 volunteers at sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle and Southampton, which will show if it produces a safe and effective immune response against Covid-19.
If these initial tests are successful, larger tests involving 4,000 volunteers will take place in April.
“It’s just playing your part, that’s what it is,” said Mr Caine.
“Everybody has got to make sacrifices and do stuff and it’s just playing your part.
“Seeing the trial results and hopefully making a difference will vindicate making the right decision to be a part of it, and support it.”