I Got the First Vaccination Shot. This Is What It Was Like

By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Yes We Can

I decided to talk about something different this week for my column, and I’ll be approaching this experience from a more personal standpoint. I got the first Moderna vaccination shot to build immunity against COVID-19 this week. While I believe this was the right decision, especially in light in more recent news, I know people have made up their mind one way or another about the vaccine.

This is me sharing what it was like for people who are uncertain, people who are “on the fence,” or people who are wanting some sort of compelling argument as to why this is an important thing to do.

I’ll be honest in my initial thoughts regarding the vaccine assessment: “It’s too early.” Nothing gets a turnaround time this quickly. The fact this vaccine came about in less than a year raised a skeptical eyebrow from me, and I’m not one to take more medicine than I actually need for any given situation. Of course, social media has its own opinion in regards to the vaccine, but if I was going to do this, I needed facts, not opinions.

I read up on what the vaccine does and the process behind it. I researched as many “neutral” sites as I could because unfortunately, the pandemic has been politicized, and memes don’t count. If I was going to do this, I needed to best understand the potential positive and negative aspects of the vaccine without emotionally slanted “noise.”

I also checked with local experts for feedback and information. I spoke directly with our local Fire Chief, Paul Henley. Chief Henley provided me with feedback, statistics, answered my questions, and provided me enough information to comfortably make my decision.

Finally, since I wasn’t initially “eligible” for the vaccine (I agree it needs to be eligible for seniors, the immunocompromised, and front line workers), I asked people, friends that I trusted, about their experiences with the vaccine. What they described for the first shot was pretty on par with my own experience, so I’m satisfied with the information I received.

So I signed up, and waited my turn. I eventually got “the call” from (903) 875-3959, and accepted the available offered space. I went in last Friday at 1:30 p.m.

Once I got to the I.O.O.F. Center, the process didn’t take a lot of time. I got a temperature scan, then went down a corridor to fill out some personal information which consisted of some basic personal info. (name, address, etc.), if I have any allergies, and have I received a vaccine dose before. I sat in the main area while some 70s music played in the background. Once I filled out the front and the back of my page, I presented it to a volunteer, and was sent to a vaccination station.

“So what exactly is in the vaccine,” I asked the guy administering the shot.

“Sugar, spice, the usual stuff,” he replied, and then added with a winking smile: “And microchips.”

We both laughed. Of course, that was in reference to the “boogity” rumor the vaccine is filled with “mind control devices,” which is nonsense. My mental facilities are still very much my own. Granted, if I start spouting off things like “Ms. Pac-Man is overrated,” “I don’t like roadtrips,” and “I’m just not a dog person,” those are some definite red flags, and I wouldn’t trust me either, because that person sounds boring.

Since I got the Moderna variant of the vaccine. For the curious, if you get Moderna for your first dose, you’ll get Moderna for your second dose. There’s no “mix and match” element.

Here’s what’s actually in the Moderna vaccine from this source and this source:

  • mRNA – Like the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, Moderna’s also uses mRNA technology to build antibodies against COVID-19.
  • Lipids – The Moderna vaccine also requires lipids to help deliver the mRNA to the cells.
    • SM-102
    • 1,2-dimyristoyl-rac-glycero3-methoxypolyethylene glycol-2000 [PEG2000-DMG]
    • cholesterol
    • 1,2-distearoyl-snglycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]

The remaining ingredients (below), including acids, acid stabilizers, salt and sugar all work together to maintain the stability of the vaccine after it’s produced.

  • Acids
    • Acetic acid
  • Acid Stabilizers
    • Tromethamine & Tromethamine hydrochloride
  • Salts
    • Sodium acetate
  • Sugar
    • Sucrose

For those with allergies, the vaccine also does not contain eggs, preservatives, or latex.

So… how was the shot?

Honestly, I felt the tingle of the alcohol prep pad more than the actual shot in my left arm, and I didn’t really feel the shot itself at all. When I was done, then asked me to sit in a new seating area for about 15 minutes, just in case I had any allergic reactions.

After 15 minutes, I went home, and for the most part, that was it.

About six hours later, I felt some slight discomfort in the area where I was injected. The only reason I felt said “discomfort” is due to leaning against a door and putting direct pressure on the spot.

I slept fine that night.

And yet, about 24 hours later, I did start feeling some soreness in my arm whenever I raised it over my head. I also felt some shoulder aches similar to sleeping badly. Mostly, I felt like I had worked out in only one arm and was “feeling the burn” the next day. I did make sure not to sleep on my side.

By Sunday morning, all of the arm and shoulder pain was gone, and even discomfort from putting pressure on the injection spot is pretty much over. I’ve felt fine as of this morning.

Now the second shot, which is scheduled to happen about a month from now, sounds like its going to be more of a physical wallop as described from friends who have already had it. So in response, I’m clearing my schedule for about 2-3 days just in case, and I’ll document that experience as well.

But I’ll go through with it. I’m ready for “normal” again. I’m ready to travel, and go to events, and hang out with friends without second guessing everything. After a year of “The COVID-19 Experience,” if this gets us… me there again, I’m willing to go through with getting vaccinated to get this done.

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Categories: Opinion