I felt totally fine after my first COVID-19 shot, but the second dose was rough. Here’s what I did to manage the side effects and why I still think you should get the shot.


Joy Henningsen receiving the second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on January 7. Joy Henningsen

Dr. Joy Henningsen is a diagnostic radiologist at the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center and a scientific assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

She obtained the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on December 17 and the second dose on January 7 at the Birmingham VA Medical Center.

Although she skilled no side effects following the first shot, about six hours after the second dose Henningsen says she started to really feel muscle aches and injection web site soreness.

She awakened throughout the night time at the 12-hour mark with a fever and chills that subsided by morning, but she felt lingering effects the subsequent day.

Henningsen says though these non permanent side effects are uncomfortable, they will not occur to everybody and should not be a deterrent to receiving the vaccine.

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Video: What it’s like to get the COVID-19 vaccine

I was extraordinarily lucky to obtain the preliminary dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on December 17, the first week it was supplied in the United States outdoors of a scientific trial. My hospital obtained doses in the first nationwide cargo and each healthcare employee at my hospital who expressed curiosity through survey obtained the vaccine, together with me.

I barely felt the first shot, except for very refined arm soreness a day or so later.

I additionally signed up to log my signs on the CDC’s V-Safe on-line symptom tracker device. My reporting was wholly uneventful; fortunately, as anticipated, I had no signs that impacted my life or actions in any means.

I questioned if I’d be as fortunate after the second dose, when extra individuals have reported uncomfortable side effects.

Read extra: Investors think Amazon and Alphabet may set the tempo for healthcare offers in 2021. Here’s what they’re watching.

Before I knew how my body would react to the second dose, I ready myself for the risk of feeling awful for a day or two afterward.

Henningsen ready washcloths, a thermometer, and over the counter ache drugs for after the shot. Joy Henningsen

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Joy Henningsen

If it had been an possibility, I would have scheduled the time without work work after the second vaccination to be protected. For me that wasn’t doable, so I scheduled a grocery supply earlier than my shot and bought the identical gadgets I’d purchase if I had a chilly or the flu (water, soup, crackers, and many others.) I additionally made certain my pets had been stocked up with loads of food and water.

In addition to consolation food and hydrating liquids, I cobbled collectively a “vaccine valise” of different provides to have readily available.

This included an under-tongue thermometer to monitor my temperature and over-the-counter fever reducers. For the whiplash again and forth between fever and chills that some individuals have reported, I set out washcloths to be used as chilly compresses. I additionally put a weighted blanket and a down comforter close to my mattress.

I obtained my vaccine in the afternoon on January 7.

The second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine that Henningsen obtained. Joy Henningsen

The second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine that Henningsen obtained.

I felt fine till the six-hour mark, when I started to really feel a way of malaise (the medical phrase for that imprecise feeling when you know one thing is not fairly proper at the starting of feeling sick).

Mild muscle aches quickly adopted, in addition to injection web site soreness that felt comparable to how a tetanus shot feels, that’s, just a little worse than a flu shot. I fell asleep but not restfully; I awakened at the 12-hour mark with a 102-degree fever and chills that subsided by morning. Still, when I awakened the muscle aches continued, and I had a uninteresting headache comparable to what I’d really feel if I skipped my day by day espresso. 24 hours later, the headache, exhaustion, chills, and “blah” feeling is still right here.

Still, all of my signs are delicate and a really small value to pay for defense in opposition to COVID-19. I imagine non permanent discomfort should not be a deterrent to receiving the vaccine, and I know these signs are an indication of a strong immune system and that my body is priming itself to struggle COVID-19 – precisely what it’s supposed to do.

Read extra: A bunch backed by big employers like Walmart, Lowe’s, and Microsoft is engaged on a brand new initiative to decrease healthcare prices

It’s vital we’re ready for the risk of those side effects. Henningsen along with her vaccine kind. Joy Henningsen

The Pfizer vaccine was vetted by the US Food and Drug Administration which decided that it was protected to be given to individuals over 16. Millions of Americans want to be ready for the approved COVID-19 vaccines’ potential side effects resembling fatigue, headache, muscle pains, fever, and chills which are extra frequent with the second dose. For the majority of recipients, these potential effects could also be an uncomfortable, but not threatening, a part of this vaccine.

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s newest projections, we’d like roughly 90% of Americans to be immunized to obtain herd immunity so as to resume regular life. I imagine it is our civic duty to be vaccinated in accordance to the beneficial dose routine to finish the pandemic. We all profit.

It’s good to put together your self for the risk that dose two of the approved COVID-19 vaccines could also be barely tougher. Still, having seen the destruction SARS-CoV-2 can wreak upon the body, I can inform you I’d moderately have an evening of feeling awful on the sofa watching Netflix any day over critical COVID-19.

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