Covid-19 has been a completely unpredictable, unexpected, and yes, an unprecedented time for all of us. And with anything unknown, there is always a wide range of responses. With the vaccine offering us some new hope, it has also brought with it more mixed emotions from people.
I want to share my Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine experience, and a few facts about the vaccine. As a member of 'Group 3', I have now had both my shots, and had them 3 weeks apart. The recommended dosage is now 6 weeks apart. After my first shot, the only side effect I got was a sore arm. Definitely make sure you get it in your less dominant arm! This is by far the most common side effect but it passes quickly.
Last Friday I got my second shot, and that day I had a sore arm and was very tired. But let's face it, I'm a working mum and I'm always tired on a Friday anyway, so I didn't take too much notice.
On Saturday I woke up, and wished I didn't. I was so tired I was physically unable to get out of bed, I was also feverish (but was in a warm bed on a warm day so hard to say if it truly was a fever) and my back and arm ached. I slept the entire day, and was unable to eat. I got up and had a few drinks during the day, and at 6.30pm, they all came back up. That lovely cold glass of Fanta was deeply regretted. I ate half an apple and a few potato chips and went back to bed - unusual for me, as I am known for my love of food!
While I felt utterly horrible, I do want to point out that this is quite a normal reaction for my body to go through, doesn't take a lot to trigger that for me. By Sunday I was still nauseated but a lot better, I took the day easy and on Monday I still wasn't 100%.
I felt like shit, but would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY! I'd just remember to get a Powerade next time.
I know a lot of people who have fear about the vaccine or are sitting on the fence about it, and rather than being put off by my experience, I want you to think about why you have hesitations. I've heard a few reasons, and here are my arguments against them -
"Unknown Chemicals" - Yes, the thought of injecting unknown substances into your body is scary for most of us. But be honest - do you vape? smoke? take party pills or synthetic drugs? do you eat cake? takeaways? .... apples?! Guess what, you've ingested chemicals you don't know anything about. 'Dihydrogen Hydroxide' sounds intimidating but your body is full of it (it's water!).
Religious reasons - I'm not qualified to pass a judgement on this one, but for me this joke sums it up best. A devout Christian man dies of Covid-19, and when he gets to Heaven he says to God "I prayed and prayed, why didn't you save me?". And God says "I sent a vaccine". But I admit, I don't fully understand the reasons behind various religious groups opposing vaccines, so I'll agree to disagree here.
'It was rushed' - the Covid-19 vaccines have been put on the market faster than most vaccines but there are a few good reasons for that. We have never needed a vaccine this urgently, and a lot of very wealthy people donated huge amounts of money to make that happen. Also, while Covid-19 is the latest 'coronavirus' around, scientists began researching into mRNA vaccines long before Covid-19 existed, coronaviruses are not a new thing. It is true that it has not had as much human testing as the vaccines we have had before, however hopefully it is clear the risks of Covid outweigh the risks of the vaccine. If Covid is allowed to run rampant worldwide, if we don't get it under control with a vaccine, then far more people are going to die/get seriously ill from Covid than they would from a vaccine.
Anxiety/medical issues - I am not a medical expert and there are definitely groups of people who should not have the Covid vaccine for health reasons. I believe if anxiety issues are stopping you from getting the vaccine, or if you are concerned about any medical issues, please talk to your medical professional and get their opinion. You could even call Healthline for some free advice - 0800 611 116.
Fear of side effects - As someone who spent my weekend asleep and spewing my guts out, I get you! But the side effects pass. My weekend was basically just a bad hangover, and now hopefully I will be better protected from Covid, as well as helping stop the spread of it to others. There are some potentially serious side effects but please talk to medical professionals about the potential pros and cons, if that's what's holding you back.
'Not 100% effective' - nope it's not. Neither is a seatbelt in a car crash, but I'd much rather be wearing one anyway. The thing is, we don't have a lot of tools to equip ourselves right now against Covid and we need to use everything we've got!
I have a few tips for getting the vaccine, especially the second shot. Get a good night sleep the night before, if you can, make sure you are well hydrated with water or an electrolyte drink, lay off the energy drinks, caffeine and alcohol for a day or so, try to arrange time off work or help with child care forthe day or two after your shot if that's possible, or at least let people know you might need some help at that time. Most people won't need to take these precautions at all but they are helpful if you are one of the ones like me who had some effects.
Spider-Man said it best when he said 'With great power comes great responsibility'. I take the word 'power' to also mean 'rights'. 'With great rights, come great responsibility'. You do have the right not to get vaccinated, but you also have the responsibility to consider it, if you are able to.
Be the superhero we all need right now, and don't forget your Powerade!