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What It’s Actually Like To Get The COVID Vaccine

What It’s Actually Like To Get The COVID Vaccine

Danielle Mahoney

As of today 18-24 year olds can opt in to get the AstraZeneca vaccine if a Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is not available. Also, if you are over 18 you can register with a pharmacy to get the Janssen single shot vaccine. All vaccines are free.

I know we have a tendency to complain a lot in Ireland, just as much as the government and HSE tend to get things wrong but despite some hiccups there’s no denying that the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine will go down in history. It’s actually incredible what has been achieved in this country over the past few months.

There’s been a really high take-up of the vaccine in Ireland, which is great. I know that there are some legitimate reasons why people are hesitant of the vaccine. There are also worries that young people will not take up the vaccine in as high of numbers as older cohorts. I’m really not sure about that, once again I think people are too quick to discredit young people in this country.

But I wanted to talk honestly about my own experience of getting the vaccine in case you were wondering about it and what it’s actually like and the side effects.

Getting The Vaccine Call

I was actually really surprised to get called for my vaccine so early – I had my first dose at the start of June. I’m 29, so it wasn’t my time to register at the time. I got a call one afternoon from an unknown number, baring in mind this was a week after the HSE hack, so I wasn’t going to answer but I thought if it was a scam call at least I’d get a laugh from it. It was not a scam, but the nurse from my GP’s office. She said “I’d like to offer you a vaccine as you have been deemed high risk” 

Cue me freaking out that I had a serious illness that I didn’t know about. 

It turns out the reason my GP flagged me was because I have PCOS. I was diagnosed with that over 10 years ago and honestly I just get on with life. I don’t have any major issues with it and I hadn’t even contacted my GP about getting the vaccine. I didn’t even know that PCOS was classed as high risk for COVID.

As per advice from Dr. Tony Holohan to not turn down the vaccine when it’s offered to you, I said yes. Honestly, I was delighted and felt so lucky. A lot of my friends were very jealous that I got vaccinated before them.

Getting The Vaccine

Getting the vaccine itself was super straightforward. I got mine in my doctors office so they had all my forms filled out in advance.

My doctor gave me the shot and I honestly barely felt the needle; it was over in seconds. I had to sit in the waiting room for 15 minutes after getting the vaccine. My arm started to feel mildly sore, but I do wonder if that was me and my exaggeration (I’m known to be a bit of a hypochondriac!) and that was it. I got up and drove home.

In the afternoon I felt a bit headachy and tired so I took two paracetamol and went for a little afternoon nap. I was grand again when I woke up again.

My arm was a bit sore that night (I got the vaccine in my non-dominant arm, so my left). It was a bit sore during the night, so I just slept on my right side. By morning my arm was still a bit sore but nothing that I couldn’t live with. By the next day I was completely fine. That’s it.

The Second Dose

When it came to the second dose I was a little bit worried that I would have a reaction seeing as the first dose was a walk in the park. Discussing the vaccine and side effects has become a national pastime (just like talking about the weather) and I had heard that people getting the second dose of Pfizer tended to get flu-like symptoms. I didn’t mind that really. I never would have dreamed of not going back for the second dose, because honestly it’s incredibly stupid to only get one dose, not to mention a waste of a vaccine and peoples times and you’re also not covered fully.

This time the practise nurse gave me my injection. I don’t mind needles, but I just tend not to look when injections are being done or blood is being taken. This time I did feel it. I don’t know if it was the nurse or where she injected it. It wasn’t bad or anything, but the first time I did not feel it at all!

Again, I waited for 15 minutes and then left and went home. I was grand this time I got home. Later that day my arm started to ache me a lot more than the last time, it reminded me of when I got a tetanus shot a few years ago, so to me that was normal. 

I started to feel a bit tired as the day went on. By that night I felt quite tired so I decided to go to bed early. As soon as I got into bed I started to feel aches in my legs. Then I started to shake. The shaking worked its way up from my legs to all over my body and then my teeth started chattering. Hello fever. 

Honestly, it was grand. I knew why I had the fever, so I didn’t mind. I took 2 paracetamol and put an extra duvet on my bed. I was shaking quite a bit and knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep so I stayed in bed and watched a bit of Friends on Netflix. The fever passed after less than 2 hours, so I went to sleep. I woke up an hour or two later absolutely sweating, so I kicked all the blankets off.

And that was it. I was grand the next day, my arm wasn’t even sore this time.

See Also

Why I Got The Vaccine

I hate this whole pro-vaccine thing, to me vaccines are common sense. I respect it if people have concerns or want to read more about vaccines, but as a journalist and lover of facts I have zero time for conspiracy theories.

I’ve always had all my vaccinations since I was a baby and through school. Vaccines work and save lives.

A few years ago I lived in Abu Dhabi and I was lucky enough to be in the position to travel a lot, that meant getting vaccinations such as tetanus, typhoid and Hep A and Hep B. I just went to my local hospital in Abu Dhabi, paid my money and got my jabs. It never crossed my mind to question how safe they were because I just knew they were safe; I trust science. I also can’t tell you what I was like in the days after. I feel like every ailment going has been linked to getting the COVID vaccine now. I do remember that my right arm hurt from the tetanus but that was it. I lived to tell the tale (I never thought that I wouldn’t) and didn’t get sick in India and Cambodia. And honestly, I never would have considered going near those countries without my shots. So, I sure as hell wouldn’t be going back out into the wild of life after the pandemic without my COVID vaccine.

Things That Did Not Happen To Me After The Vaccine…

  • I didn’t suddenly get my period.
  • I can’t stick a magnet on my arm where I got the vaccine.
  • My 5G broadband is no better (sad times)
  • My period was not late or heavier or different in any way and because of my period cycle being around 46 days I had both doses of the vaccine in between periods

I’m not discrediting people who do have reactions to the vaccine, but the vast majority of people have mild reactions. I’d rather that any day than be seriously sick with COVID.

Vaccines Save Lives

I know there’s lots of information going around some of it is quite mad, but I know there have also been some genuine concerns about certain vaccines, especially for young people and I just thought it was important to talk about my own reasoning for getting the vaccine and what my experience was like getting it and share it on for those of you looking for more information.

For me there was never a question of not getting the vaccine. I’ve always had my vaccines, it would be hypocritical to not get one now, especially because strangers on the internet are spinning mad conspiracies. I also want to protect my own health and the health of my family and friends.

If you are concerned about the vaccine please contact your GP and get your information from a reliable source.

Here’s to getting back to a normal life!

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