I am writing this in addition to this myTake (thanks for sharing your experience @Alyssa11). I thought it would be a useful to add to this post with another perspective/experience and from someone who’s had two doses of a different vaccine (Pfizer). So let’s get straight into it.
I had my first dose at the beginning of January. This is because I’m a frontline NHS worker.
I was apprehensive about having it done but I am trusting of WHO and the scientists behind the process of making vaccines. The thought of getting COVID seemed much worse than the vaccine to be honest, especially because of my health conditions.
The process was simple. I sat in a large sports hall and waited to be approached by an available nurse or healthcare assistant who took me to a little cubicle. They asked some questions regarding any allergies, if I was pregnant and they told me what vaccine I’d be having, if I was comfortable with that and then they gave me some information about potential side effects. The actual vaccine was not super painful and was over very quickly. You’re then told to sit in another chair for 15 minutes to check that you don’t have a severe reaction to the vaccine and of course, the majority of people are perfectly fine afterwards.
For my second dose which happened earlier this month, the process was very similar. It was actually almost painless on the second dose. As I’d already had my first one, they didn’t tell me as much information as the first time because I knew what to expect. They did ask about any side effects I’d had following my first one, but that was about it.
The following day
After my first dose, I felt a bit under the weather the following day. I went for a walk and felt quite tired. I had to cut my walk short due to a headache coming on. I took some painkillers but there was an underlying headache for most of that day and I rested for the remainder of the day.
I woke up with the same sort of headache the day after my second dose. I didn’t feel as poorly as I did after my first, but there was a noticeable feeling of being under the weather again.
After both doses, the arm that was jabbed felt very painful. It felt like it was incredibly bruised, I couldn’t put pressure on it without pain and I couldn’t raise it very high because it felt so heavy and bruised. This eased after the first 48 hours. It was an expected yet unpleasant side effect, but I get the flu jab annually and the experience was not much different to getting the flu jab.
The following weeks
For some weeks after my first one, I felt generally miserable and unwell. My lymph nodes were up and I didn’t feel quite right for weeks afterwards. I had a couple of nights where I lost my appetite and had random nausea following the first dose, and a couple of incidences where I had a brief yet strong sensation of dizziness, similar to the feeling of vertigo. However, it’s important to note that this was during the cold Winter months of January and I think SAD was likely influencing how I felt, as well as the cold weather. I did not experience this extended feeling of feeling unwell after my second dose. The nausea I felt could have been related to something else entirely, we just don’t know for sure.
Shortly after, and rather interestingly, I noticed the skin on my legs became quite itchy. Normally when you scratch an itch, it eases the urge to scratch, but this time, that didn’t happen. Scratching didn’t relieve the itch, even whilst I was scratching it. I scratched the skin so much that I grazed it and was left with some scabs on my shin. I thought it was simply a coincidence until I checked online to find that this is considered an uncommon side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine, not Pfizer. In fact, the uncommon side effects I experienced all showed for the AstraZeneca vaccine, but there is nothing online to show that the Pfizer vaccine causes similar side effects, that I can find anyway. The itchiness subsided but started again following my second dose, though not as severe, which tells me that this is related to the vaccine.
I reported my symptoms to the Yellow Card Scheme because I could not find any information about uncommon side effects of the Pfizer at the time, and if I did find something, the uncommon side effects did not match what I experienced or they were attributed to a different vaccine.
All symptoms I experienced following the vaccines have subsided and I am feeling back to normal again.
There is some evidence available that people who are 50+ are experiencing fewer symptoms and from my interactions with people in this age group, I have noticed this myself. They often say they had no symptoms at all and felt perfectly fine. So it seems the younger generation are experiencing more side effects and feeling more unwell. Coming from an uneducated view of the immune system and vaccines, I believe this could be due to a much stronger immune response in the younger age group, compared to the elderly group.
I want to end by saying that, despite the side effects I had, I am still glad and grateful that I got the vaccine. Currently (as of 19th March 2021) there is promising evidence showing how the vaccines are helping us fight back against the virus. Deaths and hospital stays have begun to decrease where I live. I am happy to have done my bit and have become a part of overcoming this pandemic, whilst protecting myself from serious illness.
I hope this article was informative and useful in some way. Have a great day!