Dr. Katie recently received the second round of the COVID-19 vaccine, and she wanted to take a few minutes to answer questions we received about her experience. Hopefully she can shed some light on her experience as well as answer some of the common questions you guys have. Coronavirus vaccine fear mongering is rampant, but hopefully these answers about Katie’s personal experience will help ease some fears.
COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A with Dr. Katie
I got my second round of the vaccine about a week prior to publishing this Q&A.
First of all, I experienced more symptoms with the second round than I did with the first vaccine. I received the first injection, the Pfizer vaccine, about 3 weeks prior to the second. And I had a little bit of soreness in my arm – maybe some redness and swelling after vaccination. But certainly nothing too worrisome or even noticeable.
However, with the second shot, I did experience additional symptoms. About 9 hours after the injection, I developed body aches, chills, and a fever. That initial response lasted about 12 hours, overnight. Needless to say, it was a bit of a rough night. I was uncomfortable. I experienced night sweats into the next day.
The day after receiving the injection, I did feel much better. But I also experienced some fatigue and soreness throughout the day. By the late afternoon, some body aches and weakness returned, but it was nothing like the previous night.
Q. First of all, how can people help? What can they do for you?
You can help us help you guys. You can be a part of the solution. By getting vaccinated, you are being part of the solution.
It’s not just about you personally. It’s also about reaching herd immunity. We cannot get there unless enough people are vaccinated or have had the virus.
Q. Would you get the vaccine again?
Yes! I would do it 1,000 times over again.
The symptoms it imposed were relatively manageable. And just knowing the benefits and having that feeling that I’m now better protected is priceless. Even knowing that I would go through the chills and uncomfortable feelings the night after again, I would 100% get the vaccine again.
Being able to weed out the coronavirus vaccine fear mongering amongst the scientific facts of the vaccine is so important. Hopefully I can answer some of your most-asked questions here to help you make the decision that is right for you and your family.
Q. Why should people in their 20s and 30s get vaccinated with such low chances of actually getting COVID-19 or getting sick from the virus?
This is an excellent question. The reality is that the probability of complications of COVID-19 when you’re a little bit younger is lower – it’s in your favor.
However, the virus is unpredictable. We cannot predict exactly how it will affect each individual. Healthy, young people do still get really sick and even die with COVID-19. It is at a lower rate compared to higher risk individuals, but it does happen.
One of the best things about the vaccine is that the side effects are a known risk.
We know what symptoms you will experience after receiving the vaccine. We can predict how your body will respond, and we know what to expect. It is predictable. For most people, it’s about 12 hours in and 12 hours out. Some people have these mild symptoms, and some people don’t. But the symptoms have generally been the same across the board, and they are an expected and manageable risk.
We have seen plenty of young adults in their 20s, 30s, and 40s getting very sick from the COVID-19 virus. With the vaccine, you are essentially protecting yourself from the unknowns of the virus.
You are also at higher risk of passing the virus on to someone you love. That is something you cannot take back. Once it is in someone’s body, there is no telling how they will react to the virus.
But the vaccine is predictable. I had a feeling I was going to get a little sick, and I did. Now I’m confident that I am NOT going to get very sick with COVID-19 and need a ventilator. I’m protecting myself as well as helping the community and my family.
Q. What if you had COVID-19 already? Do you still need the vaccine?
When you have the infection, you do build COVID-19 antibodies for it. That’s correct. But we don’t know how long these antibodies last, especially if you had a mild case of COVID-19.
The vaccine provides you a longer, more predictable amount of time that you’re protected against COVID-19.
With variants of the virus being seen recently, it’s important that you remember you could get another strain of the virus. But this vaccination will help you to fight off the symptoms of COVID-19 just like getting the flu shot helps provide more mild flu symptoms, regardless of the strain you contract.
Q. Why do people get sick with the second shot more than the first?
With the first shot, your body gets an introduction to the virus – an introduction to the spike mRNA of the COVID-19 virus.
With the second shot, your body has already seen the virus and recognizes it, causing your immune system to jump in and start working harder to fight it off.
Even when I had chills and fever, I kept thinking, “This is my immune system working. This is my body making the antibodies like it’s supposed to.”
A lot of people are very nervous to get the vaccine and have an allergic reaction, but these predictable symptoms are completely normal. They show that your body is working the way it should be and building those antibodies to help protect you the next time you’re faced with the virus.
Q. What about allergic reactions to the vaccine?
We get this question a lot. Any time you put something in your body – whether you eat it, rub it on your skin, inject it – there is always going to be a risk of a reaction. Those are just the pros and cons of science.
But with this particular vaccine, there is a very small probability that you’re going to have a bad reaction.
And to minimize this risk even further, staff is on standby waiting with epipens in case of anaphylactic or allergic reaction. You will be observed for 30 minutes following your injection.
You always have to weigh the risk versus reward, and in my opinion, the risk of having an allergic reaction is less than that of getting COVID-19.
Q. If you are breastfeeding or pregnant, should you get the vaccine?
Unfortunately, pregnant women and breastfeeding women were not included in the clinical trials for the vaccine.
That being said, you need to speak with your OB/GYN because there are some women, depending upon their risk profile, who are absolutely getting the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant, trying to conceive, and postpartum.
There’s really no reason why it shouldn’t be safe. So speak with your provider because protecting yourself and your baby is important and totally possible with the vaccine.
And if you’re considering getting pregnant in the near future (6-8 months), I would highly consider getting the vaccine NOW, so you’re protected before you start your journey to have children.
Q. Do kids need to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Unfortunately, right now, children were also not included in the initial clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines. They were focused on targeting the patients at higher risk of complications.
We have just recently started opening up children under the age of 12 to trials, so that will be something that will probably not roll out for a little while.
But in the future, yes. They will need to get the vaccine to be protected. They are the super spreaders, and now many are going to school. So eventually we will be vaccinating children against COVID-19.
And although they tend to fare very well with the virus, the main point always comes back to prevention of long-term complications and protecting the most vulnerable people around us.
Most kids do very well with the virus. They experience mild cold and cough, just like adults, but even on a more mild scale. However, we do see post-viral complications, like MIS-C (Multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children). And it’s important to protect our children when the vaccine is available from these potential complications after the viral infection is over.
Q. Will we need to get this vaccine every year like the flu shot?
So right now, we are seeing some mutation in the virus. It’s kind of like a race. If we could vaccinate everyone quickly and achieve herd immunity, there is a chance we wouldn’t need to get the shot every year.
Unfortunately, we just don’t know for sure at this point. It’s really going to depend how the virus mutates and what it looks like in a year from now.
The good news is that, unlike with influenza, the COVID-19 vaccine is actually 94% effective, which is amazing!
Since it is so highly effective, if we can get everyone vaccinated and protected, I do think we stand a much better chance of not having to get the vaccine seasonally.
Q. Should we save the second dose in order to distribute more first rounds to a higher number of people?
Personally, I think this idea is heading toward shaky ground.
I do understand the idea behind vaccinating more people with the first round when so many people are getting sick and in hospitals.
However, this particular vaccine was tested in trials at an interval of 3-4 weeks, depending on the company. We haven’t tested the immunity if the vaccine booster is spread out longer, say between 6-8 weeks.
I personally feel this option is not the best without the research to back up spreading out the two injections. I think it’s better to do it the way it was studied, which is two shots 3-4 weeks apart, depending upon the company.
Final Thoughts on Coronavirus Vaccine Fear Mongering and My Personal Experience
I am always happy to share my own personal experiences to help you make an educated decision for yourself and your family. And I will definitely keep you updated on my journey with this process.
Personally, I’m very happy with my COVID-19 vaccine experience. I would 100% do it again! I know I’m protected, and I’m doing all I can right now to help minimize the risk to my family.
Yes, there is a lot of information and misinformation out there about the vaccine. But I feel that coronavirus vaccine fear mongering is just that. It’s not rooted in science. It’s not rooted in factual information. This vaccine is our chance to achieve herd immunity and regain normalcy in the world again.
If you still have unanswered questions, please feel free to reach out and ask!