Tuesday April 27th is marked on my calendar as FREEDOM!!!! day. That’s because it will have been two weeks since my second vaccine dose, and I will have reached what is considered my peak immunity (at least as best as we know right now). I wanted to share a couple quick thoughts on my vaccine experience, since many people are still feeling hesitant to get their shots, and the only way we’re going to beat this thing is by getting as many people vaccinated as we can.
I signed up with our state’s vaccine connector as soon as I could, and I also made sure my information was current with my health provider. Then one weekend in mid-March I got a notification that my name came up in my health provider’s lottery and I could schedule my dose. I jumped at the chance and got myself scheduled for the first appointment I could find. As my wife will attest, I was bouncing off the walls the rest of the weekend, excited to actually start the process of seeing the light at the end of my personal tunnel.
Based on availability I ended up with Pfizer as my vaccine. I was happy about this because it’s only a three week wait between doses and I had heard that the side effects were minimal compared to other vaccines. I wasn’t very concerned about side effects, but if I could have less of them, with a shorter timespan between shots, I’d happily take it. At this point Johnson & Johnson wasn’t being offered near me, so a single dose wasn’t an option.
I showed up at Regions Hospital for my first dose and found a smooth, quick, and easy process. I checked in, filled out a quick form, and before I knew it I was sitting at the nurse’s desk ready to get jabbed. She gave me the injection, put a bandaid on my arm, and I headed over to the scheduling desk to set up my next dose. Within a few minutes I was in the waiting area for my 15 minute monitoring period. I’ve gotten hundreds of allergy shots in my life and never had a reaction, so I wasn’t worried. I was however, a little bit emotional. I looked around and realized that for the first time in a long time I was experiencing hope. I certainly had hope throughout the pandemic, but it’s different when you actually feel it.
The side effects of my first injection were non-existent besides a sore arm. For about two days it felt like I had done way too many bicep curls and was dealing with horrible soreness as a result. It passed before the weekend though, and that was it. Really easy and convenient.
My second shot was in the same hospital and the process was just as smooth. Before I knew it I was back in the same waiting area taking the requisite selfie (though I never posted them until now), and waiting my 15 minutes. However, unlike my first dose, this one did not go unnoticed. I had a bit of a sore arm again, but I also experienced a few other side effects. That first night after getting my dose I sweated a lot. I never had a fever, but I was soaked by morning. For the next 24 hours or so I was very draggy. It was a mild “hit by a bus” feeling, but I still never had a fever.
That day after I took it easy and when it came time for my weekly Beer & Bikes ride I drove to a park closer to the brewery and only biked 3 miles. I still felt good enough to go out and hang out with folks, but I was just plain tired. It all passed within a day, and that was it.
I’ve had friends get worse side effects with actual fevers, or needing to spend a day in bed, but none of them is regretting it at all. So that’s my story, and I hope that it will soon be your story too. The sooner that we all come together and get our shots, the quicker we’ll have to deal with less restrictions, and less fear. I know I can’t wait to start hugging people again! Roll up your sleeves Minnesota!