As of April 6, 2021 around 3.05 million COVID-19 vaccine doses are given daily, according to the CDC. With this statistic, there are both excited reactions from vaccine supporters and nervous reactions from vaccine skeptics. I interact with people of both mentalities, and I understand the perspectives of both. As someone who is fully vaccinated, I can at least personally attest to having no serious side effects as of now.
I was eligible for the vaccine due to working at a retirement facility. While the shots were optional, I decided it would be wise to receive them due to the high level of contact I had as a personal assistant to residents. Both doses were also completely covered by insurance, which likely would not be an option as the pandemic becomes less dire.
On a random Saturday in February, I walked into my workplace, which became a makeshift vaccine distribution center. I handed in my paperwork, showed proof of health insurance, and I waited in line for about five minutes.
I should admit none of my direct family nor myself have gotten the virus leading up to my vaccination. Perhaps our healthy track records are due to us being homebodies and only going out a few times per week.
I sat down, got impaled by someone in a lab coat and goggles, and then I sat near others who have been vaccinated. The medical officials had me sit 15 minutes before I left, making sure I did not have an allergic reaction. I found the 15 minute timeframe oddly specific: what would happen if I had a reaction 16 minutes later while driving home?
Fortunately, I drove home just fine. In fact, I was able to work that same night, using my right arm to lift residents out of their beds. Around two weeks later I went in and got the second dose.
The big variable in those who receive the shots are the side-effects. The second dose generally does bring out more severe reactions. This was also the case for myself, where I at least did not work the same weekend.
The second dose did not properly hit until late that night. In perhaps an unwise decision, I decided to meet up with immune friends that same night. Around midnight I turned to my one friend and asked frankly: “hey, is it weird that my face is shaking right now?” I decided it would be wise to go to bed earlier than expected. Despite using extra comforters, I found myself shivering quite a lot.
The shivers and strange dreams led to a sleepless night. After a long nap the next day, I began to feel much better. This was not the case for my girlfriend who became violently ill from both doses. After her brief bouts with sickness, she still shows no signs of long term side effects.
But some may ask, “what about those who died after receiving the vaccine?” The 2,509 of those who died after receiving some form of COVID-19 vaccine died of unrelated causes, according to the CDC. Yet in some cases the people who said COVID-19 deaths were due to “preexisting conditions” will use these 2,509 deaths to say the vaccines are dangerous.
It is impossible to say if the vaccines, despite being clinically tested, will lead to long lasting effects. In this case I understand those who want to wait until updated versions of the vaccines are created to get any shots.
I got the vaccine because I simply wanted to get back to some kind of normalcy. As a young adult with a strong immune system, I was willing to play guinea pig for potential herd immunity.
If you are not deathly afraid of the vaccines and are eligible for the shots, I would encourage getting yourself on a waitlist for the vaccine. It is a bummer that the tracking of COVID-19’s spread is so complex that nobody truly knows if things are getting better or worse. I at least am willing to take a few shots in the arm just to live on a college campus again.