Reporter’s Notebook: How Did it Feel to Get Vaccinated?

Since the advent of the first COVID-19 vaccine, and well before that during the course of their development, there was a lot of concern, both legitimate and erroneous, about the potential side effects. Doctors and public health officials have been pretty open about what to expect when you get the shot, but there’s no substitute for your own experience. So, for posterity, the author Guelph Politico will record here his reaction to his first COVID vaccine shot.

To set the scene, I received a shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine during a 10 am appointment at a local pharmacy. I have no drug allergy, and I don’t have a particular issue with needles, so the actual administration of the shot went smoothly and by the books. I sat there for 15 minutes, and the pharmacist asked if I felt okay. I told him I did, and he said I was good to go. As in leave.

For the next 13 hours I felt fine, maybe a little groggy, but that could have just been me bring tired after a full week’s work. I had completed all my Friday chores on Thursday so that was free to experience any side effects without experiencing any lost work time, but it appeared that I had over-prepared.

Appeared.

Around 11 o’clock, I started feeling pretty tired, and so I decided there was no harm going to bed a bit earlier than I usually do. I proceeded with my bedtime routine – put on my jammies, washing my face, and brushing my teeth – and that’s when I started to feel it. The chills.

At this point though these chills were nothing to write home about. They were the kind of chills you feel when you open the front door on a really cold day to get the mail, you feel the chill but you can kind of shake it off. Shaking it off only worked for a time, because I was in bed for about an hour when the chills hit with incredible new intensity. It was like The Exorcist at times, the bed was shaking.

Admittedly, I did not enjoy this shaking, but I just shut my eyes and thought of England, or rather thought about the discomfort of slowly dying in a hospital bed, struggling to breath with a hose shoved down my throat. For three or four hours the chills came at me in waves, and with varying degrees of intensity. Looking back on it now, I wonder if I’m exaggerating just how bad some of those of those chills were.

One thing I know for sure though is that whatever I was feeling that night, it didn’t help put me to sleep. I remember a lot of tossing and turning, and a lot of starting and stopping with the sleeping. It was similar to that feeling you get when you fall asleep watching TV, and you wake up to a loud sound on the program, you know you should turn the TV off, but you’re too darn tired to bother and the cycle starts all over again. I don’t know how much sleep I got that night, but I know I didn’t get a lot of it.

Realizing that sleep wasn’t happening anymore once the sun come up, I got out of bed and went about my day. I had a bagel and coffee for breakfast, but I wasn’t especially hungry for the rest of the day. In terms of my bodily condition, I felt tired, but not tired enough – or maybe too tired – to go to sleep, so I sat in bed all day and watched Person of Interest on Amazon Prime.

Night fell. The time came to try again and go to sleep, and there was sleep. Not enough to wipe away all the tiredness, but enough. I still wasn’t very hungry on Sunday, but things were starting to get back to normal. Monday when I woke hungry and that seemed to be the end of that. I now have to wait what about 12 weeks or so for the second shot, and there’s still the relatively slim chance of a blood clot (I hear), but half-vaxxed life is pretty good.

I’ve spent the last couple of weekends at anti-COVID/anti-lockdown/anti-mask protests downtown, and there are a lot of people there who are super skeptical about the vaccines. Concerns are understandable, but millions and millions of people have now received a vaccine shot, and I am among them. Take it from us, and take it from me, whatever side effects you experience can’t be any worse than the alternative.

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