COVID-19 vaccine: side effects may vary | Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Mesquite-News – Texas A&M University San Antonio

On March 16, after much anticipation, I was able to get my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. After many failed attempts, I was able to reserve an appointment – it was totally worth it.

For a few days, I had been on the lookout for vaccine appointments. As expected, appointments were filled within seconds registration opened as there’s a high demand for the vaccine.

In January, H-E-B announced it would be distributing COVID-19 vaccines in its pharmacies. I made it my mission to book an appointment, no matter how long I had to sit in front of my laptop screen hitting refresh over and over again.

During my first 20 minutes of hunting down appointments, the only open slots on the H-E-B portal were hundreds of miles away in Odessa and Midland.

Occasionally, a San Antonio H-E-B would have a handful of open slots. I would instantly click on the link, choose from the dates and times available and click ‘continue,’ only for the page to say there were no more available slots.

I felt hopeful whenever a store within a 20 mile radius had open slots, but the system rejected me time after time, appointments fully booked within seconds.

I was losing hope as I became more frustrated.

Suddenly, the H-E-B in Las Palmas had dozens of appointments available for the Pfizer vaccine. I hurriedly clicked on the link once again, selecting the time slot at random. My appointment had finally been booked.

I felt overjoyed as my confirmation email arrived, it was official. It was then I looked at the time and date of my appointment and realized it was in an hour, March 16 at 2:40p.m.

As I left to get the vaccine, I felt hopeful for the future. Hopeful that as more people receive their vaccines, life will feel normal once again.

Once I arrived at the store I went to the pharmacy to check-in. I was handed two forms to fill, one for the first dose the other for the second.

The employee plugged in my information on the computer and  handed me a vaccination record card to give to the doctor who would vaccinate me.

I went around the corner of the pharmacy, where the doctor asked for my card and ID.

The doctor sat me down inside a small room and asked which arm I would be taking the injection. She proceeded to puncture my right arm.

I expected to feel a sharp pain as the needle inserted my arm and the medicine dispersed inside my body, but I hadn’t felt a thing. I saw as she pulled out the needle, it was the tiniest needle I had ever seen.

The doctor placed a bandage where she had pierced my arm and informed me my second dose was scheduled for April 6, 3 weeks away from my first dose.

She also said I would have to wait for 15 minutes before I could leave to monitor if I had any reaction to the shot. I obeyed, waiting it out by the pharmacy.

I didn’t feel any reaction during those 15 minutes. In fact, I felt great. I was relieved I had received my first dose and excited to know my second appointment had already been scheduled.

Once the 15 minutes were up, I drove back home.

I resumed my normal activities, as if nothing had happened. I didn’t experience any side effects that day. Later in the day, I poked the spot I received the vaccine a few times to check if it was tender but it wasn’t.

During the night, I woke up to a sharp pain in the area where I had been injected and my arm felt somewhat numb.

When I woke up in the morning, I had a light headache but it quickly vanished. Later on, I gently poked the area again and there was tenderness. I didn’t feel any other symptoms throughout the day.

I received my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine April 6 at the same H-E-B I was vaccinated. The doctor informed me this time around I was not required to wait 15 minutes since there hadn’t been a reaction to the first dose.

I did not feel any pain or soreness for the rest of the day. I was able to perform normal activities without any disruptions.

My left arm, where I was vaccinated, was completely numb during the night.

In the morning, I was sore around the area I was vaccinated. The pain intensified whenever I touched the tender spot. The area was sore throughout the day and appeared slightly red.

About 24 hours after I was vaccinated, my body shutdown. One second I was doing homework, the next I was in bed beneath a pile of blankets trying to suppress my body chills. I started to feel weak and tired, the vaccine had kicked in.

I laid in bed the whole evening, waiting for my body to recuperate. My forehead and cheeks were hot but my body felt bitterly cold. I was aware these side effects would be unpleasant, but I was experiencing more discomfort than I had expected.

To my luck, the discomfort didn’t last too long. The next morning, my energy levels were back to normal and so was my body temperature. There were no more signs of side effects.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported swelling, pain and redness in the area where you received the shot to be common side effects. Other side effects include chills, fever, tiredness, nausea and muscle pain.

The CDC recommends to use or exercise your arm to diminish pain in the area you received the shot.

Side effects may vary depending on the person and on the type of COVID-19 vaccine they receive.

It is possible side effects are more intense after your second dose.

Vaccines are being distributed at H-E-B by appointment only. H-E-B is accepting appointments for phase 2.

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