Health Huddle – Vaccine Follow-Up

Artwork by Kelly Brown

My Second Shot of COVID-19 Vaccine Experience

by Kelly Brown

On Wednesday, May 5, 2021 I arrived at my appointment to get the second dose of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous! I had been dreading getting that second shot since I had made the appointment for it, immediately after having been given the first dose. All those potential “side effects”!

You’ll notice that I put the words “side effects” in quotations, this is because the symptoms that many people develop after receiving the second dose of the Moderna and often the Pfizer vaccine are actually immune system reactions to the mRNA in the vaccine. What this means is that your immune system was taught by the first dose of the vaccine what it should be on the lookout for if it encounters the covid19 virus, so that when you receive your second dose your immune system recognizes what is going on and gets to work raising your body temperature and sending out signals to cause inflammation within your body to fight off what it thinks is a second sneak attack attempt from the novel coronavirus. It works wonders to prevent people from ever becoming infected with it in the first place or in a worst case scenario, lessening your chances of having severe symptoms if you are unlucky enough to catch it anyway.

That being said, I can tell you, straight from the horse’s mouth that dealing with these symptoms after the second shot is not fun! For me, it started with a very painful arm, not just at the injection site but my whole arm. Then, sometime in the wee hours of Thursday morning I began to run a fever. The body aches came not long after that. And all of these symptoms remained for a little less than 24 hours. It was a pretty miserable day.

The good news is there were a few things that I did that helped a lot. I kept the fever and body aches in check. I made sure to rest a lot, ok so truthfully I spent the entire day on the couch switching between reading a book I hadn’t gotten around to reading yet and watching movies on Netflix but hey, as a mom of four, I rarely get that opportunity! In the afternoon I took a warm epsom salts bath that did wonders for the pain in my arm and the body aches. By bedtime I was beginning to feel somewhat normal again but I was exhausted and went to sleep early. The next morning I was as good as new aside from a little residual arm soreness, this time located only around the injection site.

All in all, I wouldn’t exactly say it was the most pleasant thing that I have ever been through but, it doesn’t even come close to the worst things I’ve ever been through either. If, for some reason my doctor recommended that I get a booster shot once a year for COVID19, knowing that I would feel crummy afterwards, I’d still do it. It is worth the piece of mind knowing that there is much less chance that I will contract it and potentially spread it. Isn’t science wonderful?

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