Weekend Fun: Moderna Side Effects

I’m at the front end of many of the people I know who are getting vaccinated, and I know I had a lot of questions going into the second vaccine (Moderna for me), so I thought it might be helpful/interesting to go over what the experience of having side effects was like for yours truly. Heading into the shot, I thought I might get some side effects (definitely worried enough about them to Google a fair bit beforehand), but I also thought I’d be able to power through them okay. It was a day of feeling crummy, and I’d know I wasn’t actually sick. How hard could it be?

Very hard, friends.

First, this all comes with the big disclaimer that plenty of people are just having sore arms, or no side effects whatsoever. That’s fantastic, and I’m very happy for them. After the first shot, my injection site hurt for about a week afterward, and then it got red and itchy for a while as well. But that was the extent of it.

I got the second shot on Friday at 11:40am. It hurt a fair bit more than the first shot. Enough that I wondered if somehow it had gone into a muscle wrong or something. (Denisa got hers at the same time. She didn’t feel a thing.) Both of us felt fine for the rest of Friday. I was perhaps a bit more tired, and I had a slight headache, but nothing really to write home about. We went to bed around 11pm, and I was feeling pretty optimistic. It had been almost 12 hours since the shot, and maybe I’d dodged a bullet.

I woke up at 1:30am with chills so bad it felt like every muscle in my body was tensed up. Teeth chattering non-stop, despite being under my down comforter still. Denisa hadn’t fallen asleep yet, because she’d come down with a fever as well. I stumbled out to get a couple of extra strength Tylenol, and I managed to fall asleep about a half hour later. I slept through the night (Denisa didn’t sleep much at all), and got up at 8am to go let the dog out and check on how the rest of the house was doing. I thought I felt okay-ish. Still fevered, perhaps, but no more chills.

An hour later, and I gave up. The chills were back, headache, sensitive skin, sweating, and bad muscle aches. I went back to bed after taking some more Tylenol, and I stayed in bed for most of the rest of the day. I slept about 5 hours. I might have thought I’d just push through it, but I realized that’s a very easy thing to say when you’re well, and totally different when you’re actually in the middle of it all. I was very glad we’d prepped ahead of time to get things in order for the day. Denisa was feeling 70% better by around 5pm or so. I managed to get up and out of bed for a bit, mainly because I wanted to have some hope of sleeping later that night, but I had no energy and did very little other than lay there and read or watch TV.

I slept again the whole night (very abnormal for me during the pandemic, but I’m not complaining!). When I woke up, the chills were gone, as was the sensitive skin, headache, and muscle aches. I felt less feverish, as well. Instead, I felt more like I feel after a long bout of the flu. Very tired and dizzy. Again, I stayed in bed for most of the day. I got up for an hour long Zoom meeting in the evening, but that was enough to really drain my energy levels. Denisa felt well enough to go for a 4 mile jog. That said, neither of us had much of an appetite for the whole day. We both skipped lunch, and I think I had about 1000 calories total.

Today, I feel back to normal, as if I’d never been sick at all. My shoulder hurts maybe a tinge, but that’s it. It wasn’t a fun weekend, but it was definitely better than getting some of the longterm COVID side-effects I’ve read about, and infinitely better than being hospitalized and dying, or getting the disease and passing it on to someone who has that happen to them. I’m very much looking forward to being immune in a little less than two weeks, and I’m feeling quite a bit more optimistic about things than I’ve felt in a good long while.


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