The last time I mentioned COVID-19 in this blog, social media flagged me as “potentially misleading news” even though all I said was that I wasn’t travelling. So quick disclaimer: I’m not a researcher or medical doctor. I’m not an infectious disease specialist. Literally all I want to do here is share my experience getting the vaccine to hopefully ease someone else’s anxiety about getting it.
I received Phase I of the Moderna vaccine on December 26, 2020. It hurt less than most shots I’ve gotten, and I barely noticed when the nurse administered the injection. The day after, my arm hurt quite a bit, and this persisted for about two days. I also slept more than usual that weekend, though I can’t say for sure whether this was my typical “the week between Christmas and New Years is to make up for the sleep I missed the rest of the year” or a side effect.
There is an app that my hospital had me download when I got the vaccine, which they are using for research purposes to track side effects. This is a fantastic idea, but when the nurse told me about it, what she said was, “You need to download this so we can track you.” I mentioned to her that maybe that isn’t the best wording, you know, because of conspiracy theories. She assured me it wouldn’t keep track of my location or identity, just data about my side effects, so there you go.
I got Phase II on Saturday, January 23, 2021. Once again, the injection itself was almost painless and super easy. They mentioned the app again and verified they were “tracking” me, so my suggestion about changing the wording was apparently not taken into consideration. But again, they are not actually “tracking” me. They are simply keeping track of everyone’s side effects for research purposes, which is a good and important thing to do. Oh, and you are allowed to just not download the app, so if you’re concerned, you can opt out of being part of the research.
The second shot hit me harder than the first shot. About six hours after the appointment, I started feeling exhausted and achy. You know how, when you have the flu, your skin sometimes feels like it’s made entirely out of nerve endings? It was like that. I went to bed early, slept for 12 hours, and felt slightly better in the morning. I spent Sunday resting and would probably have called out sick if I had worked that day. It was not great, but also not debilitating. I ate normally and drank more water than usual, binge-watched Worst Cooks in America, and snuggled my cats.
Today I’m two days post injection, and my arm is still a little tender where I got the shot, but only if I poke it. Unfortunately, because of who I am as a person, this means I’m poking it a lot to see if it still hurts. So all in all, not a painless experience, but worlds better than getting COVID (or passing COVID on to someone who’s higher risk than I am). I’m told it takes two weeks before the vaccine is effective, but I plan to wear the mask indefinitely just in case because I care about people.