I’ve been dodging that pesky virus for over a year now, but I finally got my turn at the vaccine. What can I (and you) expect?
I got my second dose a week ago. From the first dose, I just got a sore arm. From the second, I got a sore arm and a headache that night; I cannot completely blame the vaccine for the headache, but I rarely get those. Maybe it was just a coincidence.
From the first dose, most people don’t experience many symptoms, as it is mainly a primer to get your body ready. If you only get the first does of the Pfizer or Moderna, the makers report that they are ~80% effective at preventing infection.
After the second dose both are ~95% effective. And since 95>80, I would strongly suggest that you get both doses. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is ~65% effective and only requires one dose. And in this case, 65>0. Not only are they very effective against infection, but they are very efficient at preventing severe illness that might require hospitalization and that is the best news. A bit more on that later.
So what can you expect as side effects from the vaccine?
- Allergic reactions are rare, but possible. This is why most places have you wait around for fifteen minutes or so after the injection. They have epinephrine injections available and can fast-track you to the hospital. I have looked around and have not found any reports of someone dying from the vaccine. Update: There might be a link to blood clots but it is a very small risk.
- The other symptoms you might experience are: Swelling, redness and pain at injection site, headache, fever, muscle pain, general fatigue, chills, nausea.
- There were also reports of people getting blood clots after getting the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, but that has yet not been proved to be a result of the vaccine.
What to do about the symptoms? Since they only last for a day or two, the easiest method would be to wait it out. There are cautions about taking NSAIDS such as aspirin or ibuprofen, as the effects on the immunization process have not been studied enough. Keeping well-hydrated might help; you could even drink some home-made pink lemonade to keep your spirits up! But don’t be alarmed if you have no symptoms. That doesn’t mean the vaccine didn’t work. It just means you’re lucky.
I would advise you to avoid alcohol and most of the fun drugs during the entirety of the vaccination process. The effects of of booze and dope are not known and you don’t want anything to risk downgrading the efficacy of this process, especially since you’ve been waiting so long for it.
So, it’s been two weeks after my second shot and I am fully vaccinated. Can I throw away my masks and live free?
Probably not and the reason is simple: You can still catch Covid 19, as nothing is 100% effective. But since the vaccine prevents serious sickness, you might have become infected, yet show no symptoms, which means you could still spread the disease to those not vaccinated. Remember, the mask is not to protect you from infection; it is to protect everyone else from you. So keep wearing your mask until we get a firm notice from the epidemiologists (and not your cousin on Facebook) that it’s safe to go out with a naked face.
Good luck and I sincerely hope you can get vaccinated soon. A Google search for, “Covid vaccination near me” might help you get what you need. I want a return to some form of normalcy as much as anyone. I really miss going to the movie theater.