COVID-19 Vaccination

2020 was one of the worst years ever. Let’s hope things get better soon. The COVID-19 vaccines will help. I got vaccinated and if you have the opportunity, you should too unless you have some medical condition or allergy that precludes it.

I had a sore, swollen upper arm for a few days after the first dose. Twelve hours after the second shot I started to feel fatigued and achy. That lasted for about 48 hours. If it means my risk of getting COVID-19 is significantly lower than without the vaccine, it was worth the discomfort.

My  side effects were some of those seen during the vaccine trials. Here is a more complete list of the most common:

  • pain at the injection site
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • fever

Those side effects usually last for somewhere between 24 and 48 hours and are more pronounced following the second injection. They mean your body has started working to make antibodies.

Can you experience side effects after this? Yes, but most will occur by six weeks. The Food and Drug Administration currently requires safety monitoring of COVID-19 vaccines for eight weeks. 

Can you get COVID-19 from the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines? No. They do NOT contain live virus. Both are mRNA vaccines. They give our cells instructions to make a harmless protein similar to a piece of the coronavirus’ spike-like S protein. Our bodies view that protein as foreign and make antibodies. If we are later exposed to COVID-19 our bodies remember, know exactly what to do and start making those same antibodies.

Probably the biggest risk with the COVID-19 vaccines is possible severe allergy. If you have had a severe  allergic reaction to any of the vaccine ingredients you should not get the COVID-19 vaccine. If you had a severe allergic reaction following the first dose, the CDC recommends that you NOT get the second. 

What happens after you’re vaccinated? Don’t run right out planning to party after that second injection! It will take your body several weeks to build immunity. Even after that, continue to social distance, wear face masks, wash your hands frequently and stay home if you’re sick.

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