My COVID-19 Vaccine Experience- First Dose

It's been over a week now since I finally had my first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Just like some people, I was skeptical about the vaccines when they first emerged because there was not enough clinical studies to evidence their efficacy and the side effects that they may potentially cause. I felt that the scientists rushed the production of the vaccines. But one of my closest friends who is very sensible and is a doctor told me to believe in science. And why shouldn't I? After all, I am in a profession governed by science. However, I wanted to wait until there was enough study at least for the side effects. And then COVID-19 hit me. That's when I realised that maybe I should get the vaccine sooner than later, but I was told that I couldn't get the vaccine until 21 days after my positive COVID test. Unfortunately, there were no longer appointments available at work when I finally could have the vaccine, so I had to book via the NHS.

And so, two Thursdays ago, I arrived at a pharmacy in Marylebone to have my vaccine. The process was a breeze. A pharmacist went through some safety checks including allergies, current COVID symptoms, medications, bleeding problems and whether I had a vaccine seven days prior- all of which was a no. And then I was asked to wait. A young lady came to hand me a leaflet regarding the vaccine. When I looked at the leaflet, I figured the vaccine I was receiving that day was the Astra-Zeneca. I would have preferred the Pfizer vaccine, but with a lot of people waiting to have their vaccines, I was not in the position to be choosy. At least, Astra-Zeneca was proven to have 76% efficacy after a first dose. Then I was called in a booth where they administered the vaccine. It was not painful as such. I felt the prick but that was it. The lady then said I was good to go. I didn't wait for 15 minutes like the others, nor did I get a vaccination card. The vaccination card didn't occur to me until I got home. It was only a week later that I was able to go back and get it. 

Now, let's talk about side effects. Unfortunately, I was one of those who experienced side effects but not straight away. The day after I had my vaccine, I experienced muscle pains, most particularly on my legs. Throughout the day, my legs felt achy and heavy. My left knee felt like I had an injury. I felt very cold and felt like I had a fever. I didn't check my temperature because I knew I was experiencing side effects from my vaccine. I only took Paracetamol. I didn't do any exercise that weekend because I didn't want to make things worse. My arm was still heavy at this point. I had my vaccine on a Thursday and on the following Monday, I woke up with a very painful arm. When I checked my vaccination site, it was red. It was elevated and although it was not itchy, it was quite painful. I couldn't even lift my arm. When I got home that evening, the redness was worse. This was after four days of having the vaccine. The swelling and redness lasted for 48 hours. Apart from those symptoms, I was totally fine.

As much as I was initially reluctant to have my COVID-19 vaccine this soon, I am glad that I made a conscious decision to do so. I know the vaccine does not give me 100% protection from the corona virus, but at least I have some protection. These days, a degree of protection is better than no protection at all. And having had the vaccine also gives me half the passport I need to finally go home and see my family. 

I am happy that I finally had my first dose, but this does not mean I am complacent. I will still continue to wear my mask and take extra precautions because the world outside remains dangerous.

Until the pandemic is completely over, we must stay safe.



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