Since the outbreak of the Corona virus last year, we have been patiently waiting for a solution to this terrible disease. Luckily, before the end of the 2020, the first Covid-19 vaccine was allowed to be distributed in the U.S. Upon hearing this news, I knew that sooner or later I would be one of the first people in line to take the vaccine. I was super excited about that prospect and signed up as soon as I was given the green light to take the vaccine.
I know this blog post is different than my usual fashion or lifestyle content. But since we’re in this pandemic and getting closer to a cure, I thought I would talk about my experience. Also, I know a lot of you have questions about how I got the vaccine, how I felt, etc. so I wanted to put together this blog post to help answer those questions.
The Covid-19 Vaccine background
At the moment, (as of Jan 27, 2021), there are two Covid-19 vaccines available in the United States: the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and Moderna vaccine. Both vaccines require two doses, meaning you get two shots of the serum injected in you at different days. The Pfizer vaccine is 21 days apart while the Moderna vaccine is 1 month apart. Both have similar side effects, but the amount of side effects is different at each dose.
Keep in mind that getting one or the other isn’t better or worse. With that being said, I received the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine and will describe my experiences from it.
How I was able to get the vaccine
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a webpage explaining a phased approach on who will be able to get the vaccine and when they can get it. I work in Clinical Research (yes, I may or may not be involved in Covid-19 studies 🙂 ) so, I fall under the healthcare bracket. Where I work, the physicians and staff working directly with the Covid-19 patients were a part of Phase 1a. Since I still work with patients but maybe some (or maybe not) Covid-19 patients, I was a part of the Phase 1b group.
Experience: On Dec 29, 2020, I was offered the Covid-19 vaccine in my department. As soon as it was offered, I signed up to receive the vaccine. The first open slot for me, around my work schedule, was at 2:30 pm that same day. This made my excited yet nervous since I wasn’t prepared to get the shot on that same day. Nevertheless, as 2 pm rolled around, I prepared to head over to the Covid-19 vaccine location for employees.
As soon as I got there, I had to sign a consent form and was provided a fact sheet. Once my turn was up, I was handed a card (the one you see everyone post with on social media). Then, I walked over to the nurse’s station that was assigned to me for the shot. The nurse asked about my symptoms (I had none) and scheduled me for my second dose on Jan 19, 2021. She then asked me to roll up my sleeve on any arm (I chose left since right is my dominant side), wiped my upper arm clean with a sanitizing wipe and administered the shot.
It was so quick that I forgot to take a picture getting a shot- you know, the one all your health care work friends are posting on social media. Anyway, after I got the shot, I was told to go to a waiting room and wait for 15 minutes. Once my 15 minutes were up, I walked to the check-out station. They checked my arm to see if I had any side effects and told me to that I was good to go.
Side Effects: I didn’t feel any side effects immediately. In fact, when I woke up the next day, I thought about how I felt from the vaccine the day before and then realized that I did feel some side effects. Firstly, I felt some chills around 7 pm which marks the 3ish hour mark from when I got the vaccine. Secondly, I had a really good night sleep. Looking back, I’m assuming that my fatigue hit me right around bedtime. Thirdly, my arm was sore but not as bad. I could lift my arm up to my neck without it hurting too much. Lastly, I took the recommended dose for Advil immediately after I got the vaccine until two days after and felt much better. I believe that if I didn’t take the Advil then I would have been in much worse shape.
Experience: On Jan 19, 2021, I got my second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. The process was the exact same as the previous one. I went to sign paper, got my vaccine card update, nurse administered shot, waited for 15 minutes and then left. However, unlike the first dose, I took an Advil an hour prior to receiving the second dose.
Side Effects: For the second dose, the side effects were a lot worse for me. Within an hour of getting the vaccine, I felt the chills. Similar to the first vaccine, I had a really good night sleep which I also assumed was the fatigue hitting around my bedtime. I did take an Advil before going to bed but my whole body still ached when I woke up.
The day after I received my second dose was really rough. I’m not usually one to take prescription drugs or over-the-counter medication but I took two Advil’s every 6 hours (up to the recommended daily amount) in order to help with the side effects. I still continued to feel the chills, felt super tired all day and probably had a low-grade fever (didn’t check my temperature but my symptoms were fever-like). In addition, my left arm (my shot arm) was also sore- as if someone ripped it apart. The Advil’s did not help the muscle soreness from my arm go away but it did help reduce the pain.
As soon as 4:30 pm rolled around and my workday ended, I went to take a nap. I napped for a full hour and felt a lot better. I was able to eat food and drink liquids normally. The next day (day 3), I felt so much better that I didn’t take any Advil that day. My arm was still sore as if someone punched it lightly, but it was nothing compared to the previous day.
Overall, my side effects lasted about 24 hours and I was feeling a lot better afterwards.
I’m glad I took the vaccine and made a part of history with this choice. I’m also glad to be a part of the solution in trying to combat this virus. Personally, I don’t think the side effects from the vaccine could be as bad as the Corona virus itself, so I rather take the vaccine. However, I’m not going to enforce anyone to make that decision. If you’re on the fence about taking the vaccine, please do your research and don’t read what the media tells you. As someone who works in Clinical Research, I recommend the following:
- Go to ClinicalTrials.gov and search either “Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine” or “Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine”
- Read up on both of them and make your list of pros/cons.
- Go to Pfizer & Moderna’s websites and search their clinical study records for the Covid-19 vaccines.
- Also check out the FDA, CDC, WHO and your local health government websites regarding the Covid-19 vaccines.
- Do your research on well reputable websites/scholarly articles before making your informed decision on whether or not you want to take the vaccine
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Since I know a lot of people are interested in knowing more about anyone who’s received the vaccine, I asked on my Instagram what questions people had. Below are the most Frequently Asked Questions so I hope it helps you answer any questions. If you still have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask me anything in regard to my Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine experience.
How do you feel now? Anything to watch out for while getting vaccinated?
I feel great! The one thing to watch out for is that your arm will get sore so take an Advil or Tylenol at least 30 minutes prior to your vaccine appointment.
Did you have any reaction?
I had no reactions, just the common side effects. Read above to learn more about my side effects from the vaccine.
How do you feel?
It’s been a week since I got my final dose, so I feel great!
Did you have any symptoms?
I had no symptoms, just the common side effects.
How do you feel afterwards?
After the first dose, I felt fine. The side effects hit me the next day but weren’t as bad. After the second dose, I felt the chills within a couple of hours. Other side effects such as fatigue, fever, muscle soreness and body aches were within the following 24 hours.
What do you say to people who don’t want a vaccine?
I would say to do their research at proper websites such as ClinicalTrials.gov and the Pharmaceuticals websites.
Are you okay?
Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for asking.
Are there any side effects? If yes, what?
Yes, there are side effects. Common side effects include fatigue, chills, body aches, fever, nausea, etc.
Did you feel any body aches or pain after getting it?
I only felt body aches after receiving my second dose. I had muscle soreness in my arm after both doses, it was worse with dose #2.
I hope this blog post was super helpful and informative to you. Will you be getting the Covid-19 vaccine? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments below!