I got the COVID-19 vaccine and this is what happened

I am a Mexicana, and I participated in one of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine trials! Unfortunately, I was a placebo arm. Now, I’m fully vaccinated! This is my experience after receiving both injections. 

There have been efforts by the FDA to increase the participation of historically underrepresented groups in clinical trials. Kaiser Health News discussed how the COVID-19 trials were more diverse than previous trials. I was excited to be a part of the effort.

Vaccine Visit

In my previous blog posts, I gave a play-by-play of my initial visits. This time was similar. The front desk checked my temperature and asked me the standard questions. I waited a bit before being called back.

When I first got into the room, I was given an addendum to my consent form. Essentially, it said that I was originally given the placebo and now I would receive the real vaccine. It also said my follow-up visits will now be virtual. 

Next, I gave a urine sample. Then, there was the nasal swab. They are still uncomfortable. After that, they took a blood sample. And then finally, the main event, my vaccine! The whole visit was about four hours, including a 30-minute wait to see how I felt after the injection. However, that’s not the norm for people receiving their vaccine through other means. That’s just how long it took at my trial site with numerous participants present. 

image of woman holding CDC vaccine cardMy second injection visit was similar. Another urine sample and another nasal swab. But this time, they didn’t take a blood sample. The person who walked me through the process this time was incredibly transparent and gave me more information. She mentioned that it takes 30 minutes for the vaccine to reach room temperature. Sure enough, about thirty minutes after they took the swab two people came in for my shot. One person to administer, and one taking notes. Another half-hour to wait. No reaction. And finally, I received the coveted vaccine card!

Post-Injection

The first side-effect I experienced after receiving the vaccine was the urge to tell everyone I got the vaccine. A few hours later, I noticed some slight soreness at the injection site. By the evening, the soreness was worse. 

That night I woke up at 2:00 a.m. with chills. I didn’t check my temperature, but I’m sure I had a fever. My whole body ached. By 5:00 a.m. I woke up in a sweat. At 7:00 a.m. I had a slight headache. The aches were still there. My shoulder felt like a post-upper-body workout day. Fatigue. I was exhausted all day. The 1km walk to my local coffee shop tired me out, and I needed to sit for a bit before walking back home. A low-grade fever would come and go throughout the day. On top of that, my resting heart rate was around 70 BPM, whereas it typically ranges from the upper-40’s to mid-50’s. 

The next day my fever was gone. My body no longer ached. The pain in my shoulder wasn’t as strong but was still there. I still had low energy and tired easily. I attempted to go for a run. 30 seconds at my 5k pace was all I could hold before needing a break. Additionally, it took longer for me to catch my breath before starting to run again. 

On the second day post-vaccination, my pain was minimal. My resting heart rate was almost back to normal. I didn’t go for a run but completed a HIIT workout. During the workout I lost my breath easily; I needed to take more breaks than usual. 

By the third day post-vaccination, I was back to normal. After discussing with other people who have received their vaccines, my symptoms were on par with those who had previously been infected with COVID-19. Recently, a few studies have shown that a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine offers protection for those who had COVID-19 already. I feel more confident now that I am protected against the virus!

After my second injection, I experienced slight arm soreness the first day after. Then, I was good to go!

Get the Vaccine

Thomson Reuters published an article; Dr. Fauci urges Americans to get the vaccine. Whether it’s Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson, it’s protection against the virus. Vox shared a handy graph illustrating the differences. It even has Astra-Zeneca’s vaccine. After a year of pandemic times, I think it’s time we jump on the bandwagon and take our best shot. Because the sooner we reach herd immunity, the sooner we can escape Zoom conferences. 

image reads: Comparing Covid-19 vaccines. A chart highlighting the similarities and differences between the COVID-19 vaccines

Victoria Hernandez

Victoria serves as a Marketing Specialist and is a budding Data Journalist at CareSet. She holds a B.A. in Communication from Texas A&M University. Victoria has run three marathons and is the leader of Free Fit Hou.