The pandemic certainly had its foot on our necks for all of 2020. In December, I was blessed with the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. After some serious thought and prayer, I convinced it would be a great opportunity – not only for myself but to share my experience with others. So even though I’m a few months late, here’s how it went.
After being presented the opportunity twice to get the vaccine, I convinced myself to sign up the second time around because slots filled so quickly and I didn’t want to find in my position where I really wanted the vaccine and couldn’t because missed my chance. I did some research on the vaccine to learn more about its process and efficacy although, to be honest, I didn’t care too much what was in the shot if it could at least cure my COVID-19 anxiety. I went to AU Health and the process was surprisingly seamless. My appointment was at 10:30 a.m. I arrived at 10:24 a.m. and the shot was in my arm at literally 10:33 a.m. We had to wait for about 20 minutes to see if we experienced any immediate side effects as nurses were present to treat us.
After I went home, I was shocked that I felt fine. Compared to the flu shot, which usually makes me feel fatigued, didn’t have an effect on me. A few hours later, I had a minor headache, but I felt fine. The following morning, I woke up with arm soreness around my injection, but my headache was gone and I felt completely fine. For a moment I was nervous because I felt I was given a placebo.
The second time’s the charm?
I received the Pfizer vaccine which means I had to return to AU Health to get my second dose in 21 days. After I did some more research, I found that most people experience mild symptoms the second time. So I made sure my work calendar was cleared and that I was mentally prepared for the “flu shot” experience. This process was as quick and seamless as the first time around. Was I some sort of superhuman that wouldn’t develop any symptoms?
When I got home, my headache arrived quicker and immediately felt the arm pain, but neither were as bad as the first. So I assumed I was superhuman and carried on about my day. Late that evening, I felt fatigued so I decided to go to bed a little earlier than normal. Am I crazy for grinning that I got a side effect?
My symptoms subsided both times within 24 hours. It is such a relief to no longer have COVID anxiety because I felt that was almost as bad as being exposed to the virus itself. My coworkers who also got vaccinated during the same timeframe and same vaccine as me experienced very similar side effects. Some worse than others, but overall we were all okay after the first 24-48 hours after receiving either dose. A few weeks later, I noticed that I had some swollen lymph nodes under my arm. This is also a normal side effect, but no one told me that initially. I found out about the same time as they appeared so I knew there was no need for concern. It simply means the vaccine is becoming fully effective. Contrary to initial thoughts, you aren’t immediately safe to return to normal ‘pre-pandemic’ activities after your vaccination. You will need to wait for the vaccine to become fully effective which could take up to 14 days.
Personally, I’m not in a major rush to return ‘back to normal’ so I’m still wearing my masks wherever I’m expected to and continue to follow all rules and guidelines set by businesses. I think that it’s important that we still behave this way until everyone has the opportunity to get vaccinated. Hopefully, things will continue to progress and we’ll get to that point very soon.
Before making a final decision in favor or against the vaccine, I encourage everyone to do their research about the vaccine. Listening or watching someone else’s experience is not enough. Even this blog shouldn’t be the sole reason that you base your decision. Regardless of your choice, just make sure it’s based on facts and not fear.
If you are looking to receive the vaccine in the Augusta area, go to www.augustahealth.org/vaccine to stay up to date on AU Health’s upcoming vaccine clinics.
Do you plan to get the COVID vaccine soon? Why or why not?