Mental Health & Wellness

I Received the COVID-19 Vaccine! Here’s What Happened Part 2

On February 9, 2021, I received the second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. It’s been six weeks since then; it’s safe to say I am fully vaccinated! If you missed how the first shot went, I would recommend reading my previous post here.

As more people are receiving the vaccine, it seems like the light at the end of the tunnel may be widening. But to me, that light still feels pretty narrow. The vaccine does not help stop transmission; it helps fight the virus should you become sick. We also cannot forget that there are way more people without a vaccine and may potentially not have access at all for a variety of personal reasons and systemic disenfranchisement.

However, I am happy to report that receiving the second dose of the vaccine was not as I had anticipated! I heard and read many stories of folks experiencing flu-like or more unpleasant symptoms after the second shot, primarily due to the immune system spiking. It made me very nervous; I was sure I’d be out of commission for a few days. It’s valid if you feel that way as well. Ultimately, our bodies are different. How someone else reacts may not be our experience at all. We have to keep an open mind and listen to ourselves and our bodies first.

From my experience, the first dose came with more side effects than the second. Besides mild soreness at the injection site, I didn’t feel any additional bodily changes. I was braced for it, took time off and everything, which I am glad I did. If you can, you should too. It’s a big step you’ve taken for your health; having an opportunity to reflect on it and rest does not hurt. Two weeks later, I hit the fully vaccinated benchmark.

So what am I doing now? Am I living it up, gathering in small crowds? Perhaps, planning a long-awaited trip? Nope! Only in my dreams. I have not changed anything about my life post-vaccine; the same limited outside contact, social distancing, mask-wearing, elbow greeting rules still apply. I’m not in a rush to return to anything, and, truthfully, it will be a long time before I feel comfortable doing any social pastimes at pre-COVID levels, which was already low. Receiving the vaccine was another way to support my health and, hopefully, lessen the impact on others.

I hope my sharing of my experience was helpful. I can only hope that you, my friends, and your families can become vaccinated as soon as it’s feasible. It doesn’t mean we beat it, but we can be slightly more prepared. And, even though for a lot of us, we can’t hug or hold our loved ones as close as we’d like to right now, the precautions and science will hopefully make sure they’re around a little longer so we can. We still have a long road ahead of us. There is still a lot to find out and uncover. Make sure to do your research; take the time to inform yourself on the best decisions for you and your communities. We’re all in this together.

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