© Michelle Chan
[Please note that I am not a medical doctor, and that this is not meant to be used as medical advice. Rather, it is only a recount of my personal experience.]
One of the hot topics now is all the buzz around the COVID-19 vaccine, whether to get it, to not get it, to get it later, etc. As with everything, it is a decision one will have to make for themselves when they have the option to choose. As a therapist who not only works in private practice, I had the option to get the first dose of the vaccine a few weeks prior. For me, personally it was an easy choice to take the vaccine. I was willing to chance the possible side effects for the promise of its protection against COVID for myself, my loved ones, and all those I come into contact with, now and in the future.
There are many questions floating about in regards to the side effects, leading many to feel anxious and concerned about the unknown or lesser known. So, while I am not a medical doctor and cannot tell you exactly what to expect, whether or not you should get the vaccine, or anything in general about the vaccine... What I can share is my first-hand experience. It may lead some to feel reassured and more knowledgeable, and others more anxious and with more questions. But either way, feel free to continue reading if you'd like to hear a little bit of my experience. Spoiler alert: what unfolded was quite uneventful.
Saturday, January 9
Arrived for my 11:15AM appointment on the dot, and found out once I got there that there was a long single-file line. The line moved quite quickly, taking about 20-25 minutes before I got the vaccine. Afterwards, I was told to sit and wait for about 15 minutes before leaving, to ensure that I didn't experience any adverse side effects. During that time, I scanned a QR code to schedule my next dose.
3 hours after getting the vaccine, my arm started feeling noticeably more sore. The soreness that I felt was definitely more so than the soreness one feels after getting a flu shot. The soreness persisted throughout the rest of the day. That night, I didn't sleep well, because every movement I made led to me feeling the soreness in my arm.
Sunday, January 10
I experienced a slight dull headache and tiredness throughout the day. But honestly, I'm not sure if it was because I had interrupted sleep the night before, maybe there was a change in weather, something that just happens to me from time to time, or due to the vaccine. I took a 1-hour nap in the afternoon, but didn't feel much of a difference afterwards. Only thing that was for certain, as a result of the vaccine, was that my arm continued to feel sore, making it difficult to lift my arm. However, by late afternoon/early evening, I felt less soreness on my entire arm, and it was more centralized to the upper part of my arm, near the injection site.
That night when I went to sleep, my entire body felt really warm, which isn't usually the case for me. I woke up a few times to touch my forehead to see if I was having a fever, but my head remained cool to the touch.
Monday, January 11
When I woke up in the morning, my headache from the day before was gone and my body returned to its normal temperature. I didn't feel any different than I usually do, other than my arm feeling tender to the touch at the injection site. I could also move my arm without experiencing any soreness. And... the rest is history!
I was fortunate that I didn't experience any strong adverse side effects after my first dose and am hoping for the same after my second dose in about 2 weeks.
"Now is the time, if ever there was one, for us to care selflessly about one another." - Anthony Fauci, M.D.