COVID-19 Vaccine Experience
On Friday, February 19th, 2021, I got my first COVID-19 vaccine dose. It was an exciting (and, honestly, a rather odd) time.
I'm very, very fortunate to have gotten a vaccine given the lack of supply right now. But I wanted to tell my experience with the vaccine —both with actually getting it and the after-effects of the vaccine, mostly just to see if anyone else was having a similar experience that I have/was having.
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine
First, with actually getting the vaccine: this was all done through a drive-thru. I never left my car! I arrived at around 8:45 am, and the line was extremely long (yet I received my dose at my scheduled time, which was surprising to me).
I pulled up, and the hospital staff told me I had to have my ID ready to go. In Florida, and in my county, you have to be a Florida and county resident in order to receive the vaccine. After checking in with the main desk, I slowly pulled up to also receive a consent form, which required some maneuvering to fill out while being directed to one of four tents to receive the vaccine.
Monitoring for adverse side effects
An RN came up to my car, asked me to pull my left arm out and, within seconds, gave me the vaccine. I didn't feel a pinch. I really didn't feel anything at all.
Then, they instructed me to pull over into the parking lot and to flash my lights/honk my horn if I started experiencing any adverse side effects to the vaccine (anaphylaxis). Thankfully, all was good for me. So, after 20 minutes, I was able to wheel out of the parking lot and back home to further isolate and stay at home!
Feeling some optimism
Getting the vaccine felt — emotionally! — great. It felt as if the pandemic was coming to a close, like there was a certain light at the end of the tunnel. It felt liberating, even though current restrictions are still in place.
There was just this sense that this could all be over, that all of this pain and suffering and conditions could all be over. Maybe this is wishful thinking, but it was how I felt in real-time.
COVID-19 vaccination for being immunocompromised
Getting my vaccine was also a peculiar time because I was the only young person in line to get vaccinated. Yes, I am immunocompromised, and my doctor recommended me for the vaccine so I didn't feel bad (as if I were taking someone else's vaccine). But, I did feel out of place, which I have sort of gotten accustomed to by now.
A reminder about RA
This reminded me — well, just another moniker — that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has really changed my life, in so many ways. If I didn't have RA, I wouldn't have to worry about getting a vaccine, I wouldn't have to worry about being sick all the time, I wouldn't have to worry about COVID-19 like I have to right now.
Maybe there was some part of getting the vaccine that was bittersweet, a concomitant recognition of how much things have changed since being diagnosed with RA.
So, what have your experiences been with getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
Right now, what RA tips would most be helpful for you?