My Experience with the Pfizer Vaccine

“We have a vaccine for you. Can you be here in one hour?”

This was the call I received from my local hospital on the afternoon of March 12th, completely out of the blue. A couple of weeks earlier, I’d joined a no-waste program that distributes leftover vaccines at the end of the day. (Many hospitals and pharmacies do this by the way—the best way to find out more is to just call.) The moment I hung up, I hopped in my car and drove to the hospital. I called my boss on the ride over to tell her I’d be late to work, and she completely understood. “You go get your shot,” I believe were her words.

00F6574D-ED90-4FE9-806C-75C6B2BDEE2FAside from some soreness in my arm that lingered for a few days, I didn’t feel much from my first shot. Emotionally, I was pleased and relieved but also a little guilty since I’d gotten my shot before most people my age. Knowing that my vaccine would have gone to waste otherwise helped me get over that initial guilt but it’s not lost on me that I was lucky. Consequently, I felt like I had a responsibility to share my experience and encourage others to get vaccinated too. I suppose that’s part of the reason why I’m writing this now, just three after getting my second shot.

Although I never once considered not getting my second shot, I was still nervous. How could I not be after hearing about the vast array of unpleasant reactions my friends and family who’d received it before me had had? Within my immediate family, my mama had a rash and, worse than that, my mom, a picture of good health, was so tired and lethargic that she didn’t feel motivated to get out of bed. All symptoms I’d experienced daily when I was battling major depression in high school and hoped I’d never have to endure again.

Despite my festering fears and anxieties, I showed back up at the hospital on April 2nd and got my second shot. After I’d sat around for fifteen minutes (protocol), I hopped in the car with my mom to head home (but not before picking up vegan ice cream at Whole Foods to celebrate). As we drove, I was overcome with immense relief knowing that I was finally protected and safe after over a year of living in constant fear. I’m fully aware that the pandemic is ongoing but it still felt like a major milestone.

So, how did my body react to Shot #2? Well, I woke up at 5 AM the next morning freezing cold and was only able to fall back asleep once I’d bundled up in sweats and fuzzy socks. When I finally dragged myself out of bed at 8:30, I was physically exhausted, sore, and shaky. I had a headache and a chill I couldn’t shake. My mental processing and productivity were significantly slowed. I spent the day lounging around in my pajamas, reading a book for English, watching March Madness, and editing a manuscript for an upcoming writing project. Easy and mundane tasks that made me feel mildly accomplished nevertheless.

IMG-1759By the evening, my symptoms had improved, and when I woke up the next morning, they were almost entirely gone. That was it: one crappy day that, in the scheme of things, wasn’t even that bad. One crappy day that, had it been the coronavirus, could have lasted weeks, if not longer.

I know that many people, for a variety of reasons, are still hesitant about getting vaccinated. To those people, I’d say: trust science. Trust research. Trust doctors. Trust that this is the only way we’re going to put this miserable and deadly pandemic behind us once and for all. The vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel, and we’d be foolish to turn away from it. Because, to me, one day—a mere twenty-four-hours, if that—of feeling crappy is completely worth it if it means I can protect myself and my family and anyone else who’s close to me from a life-threatening virus. It’s worth it if it means I can travel again and give in-person book talks and go to work and do all the other things that have been put on hold for the past year; things that bring me joy and fulfillment. It’s worth it if it means our society—our world­­—can finally return to normalcy, and someday, hopefully in the near future, I can safely walk through my town and smile at people and see them smile back.

23 Comments on “My Experience with the Pfizer Vaccine”

  1. Wooohooo, this is fantastic! So glad you’ve had both doses, Julia. That leftover dose program is a fantastic idea, so much better than vaccines going to waste. I’ve heard many folks having more side-effects after their second jab now, a bit like you experienced. It’s strange, isn’t it? You’d imagine less the second time around when your body’s used to it. Still, from everything I’ve heard from others, Pfizer seems a little less intense on the side-effects than AstraZeneca. I’ve only had the first dose (Pfizer) which was several weeks ago now; in the UK it’s a 12 week wait for the second dose, which I think is insane and so risky. Anyway, won’t rant about that 😉

    No guilt, Julia. You’ve done a great thing sharing your experiences here for those who haven’t been vaccinated yet. It really does help.

    I hope your shots give you the best protection possible!

    Caz xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aww thanks, Caz! It sure is strange how the body works that way–and stranger that the UK makes you wait 12 weeks! That’s a long time, I can totally imagine your frustration.

      Hang in there, you’re so close! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly! Getting vaccinated isn’t the most pleasant experience but it’s necessary if we’re ever going to move past this.


  2. Well said and so important too – hopefully your post will encourage more people to go and get the vaccine. We won’t get ours until July, but there isn’t any community transmission (at the moment – and long may it stay that way!).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing your experience which will probably help someone to make a real effort to choose to go with the science. I’ve been fully vaccinated since Feb. 22 because they let all of us old folks go to the head of the line. There are some perks to being ancient.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for choosing to follow my blog! I really appreciate your support and look forward to reading more of your posts! Good for you to get the vaccine! I just got mine today!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Haha I know you posted this a while ago but I’m coming back to this because I just got my first Pfizer shot yesterday! I already have a fever and a terrible headache and it’s only my first shot 😦 hoping that it isn’t as bad with my next one! – and I agree, I already feel so relieved!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh no! I’m happy you got your shot but sorry to hear you don’t feel well. I’m sending my best for a speedy recovery and an easier second shot. It truly does impact everyone differently!

      Liked by 1 person

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