Sunday Chai & Chat: COVID Vaccine Dose #1 Symptoms & Overall Experiences

On April 9th, I received my first dose of the COVID vaccine. I went to a CVS Pharmacy that was in the next town over since all of the appointments relatively close to my house were completely booked for the next month or so. Given my immunocompromised state, it was imperative for me to get this vaccination gig started. Here are my experiences with it.

My appointment was at 11:15, and I got there about ten minutes early. Upon walking inside, the CVS dude greeted me and checked me in. We exchanged pleasant chit-chat about my bookworm socks. Then he made sure that I had an appointment and gave me a little vaccination record card thingy specifically for the COVID vaccines. After that, I received a text message on my phone where I basically just confirmed that I had indeed arrived at the store and was ready for my appointment.

The dude then directed me to the specific part of the store where the vaccinations were being given. I made a joke to the person that I went to this gig with that I should be done soon, and they’d know by the screaming that it was my turn. I know, melodramatic, but it was in good fun. Making dumbass jokes is the best way for me to deal with anything pertaining to needles as I hate them almost as much as I hate spiders.

I had to stand in a relatively long line, but the staff members were super-efficient, and I only had to wait about fifteen minutes before my turn to get poked and drugged arrived. I walked up to the pharmacist dude and he could tell I was nervous, so he uttered jokes about how I needed to make funny faces beneath my mask to ensure I was properly prepped for vaccinating. He then ran down a list of side effects that I may experience over the next two to three days and that it shouldn’t last longer than that. If it did, I needed to go to a hospital. He cleaned my arm, told me take a deep breath, and then stabbed me with the needle. Luckily, it didn’t hurt nearly as much as I had hyped it up in my mind. It was a small pinch and it stung for a little bit afterwards. Since I have allergies to specific medicines, I had to wait in the store for fifteen minutes to make sure that I didn’t have any reactions to the shot. Once the fifteen minutes were up, I was free to leave.

The first side effect that I experienced was pain my arm, which began about two hours afterwards. It started at the injection site and then sort of rippled out to the rest of my arm and hands as the day went on. My shoulder and neck felt very stiff and sore as did my arm down to my wrists and I had tingling sensations in my hands and fingers. My tendinitis was rather excruciating on Friday, so I think the vaccine was exasperating the pre-existing discomfort that I already had going on.

In the afternoon, around 16:30, was when the pain intensified horribly. My whole arm felt like it had been placed into a vice and then beaten with a bat. The only pain relief medication I was allowed to take was Tylenol, and I only had the P.M. version of it. As such, hastily upon taking the meds, I became pretty fucking sleepy. I didn’t wake up until about 22:30 and that was only because I needed to take my heart medications. My head felt very heavy, and the grogginess was extreme. My throat was also starting to become a bit sore, and the arm pain was relatively unchanged. After taking me heart meds, I passed the fuck out again (I went to sleep, I didn’t faint).

I slept hard and long, finally waking up on Saturday at approximately 05:30. My arm was still a little sore, but it wasn’t in blazing agony anymore, thank goodness. After rolling out of bed and doing my typical morning hygiene and bed-making routine, I had some breakfast with my parents and a nice strong up of chai. The arm pain came back a little bit. I noticed that the more I moved it and used it (carrying heavy things, etc.) the more it ached. Even so, it was far more manageable than Friday afternoon and evening. I didn’t even need to take Tylenol, but this really will depend on an individual’s pain tolerance. Thanks to my heart shite, mine is pretty high.

Saturday afternoon, around 15:00, is when my sore throat became frustrating and annoying. I also started to feel really light-headed and somewhat dizzy (common flu symptoms for me personally). I had a light lunch and then crawled back into bed around 16:30. I had trouble falling asleep, so I took some melatonin and that completely knocked me out ten minutes later. Again, I only woke up at night to take my heart meds, and then slept off the rest of the sickly feeling that I was experiencing.

I woke up at 02:30 today, and at first I felt pretty normal, so I rolled out of bed and decided to make a coffee run at the only 24-hour coffee shop that is close to my house. After getting my coffee, I went for a small drive to unwind and process some personal shite I’ve been dealing with, but then exhaustion completely bitch-slapped me out of nowhere about an hour later. I knew I needed to come back home as soon as possible. Returning around 04:30, I crawled back into bed and slept until 07:30.

The first thing that I did after waking up was to have a good, nutritious meal and something with caffeine to drink. Then I sat at my desk for a while as I wanted to gauge what side effects would pop up, if any. So far today I have had no side effects. The arm pain is completely gone. My throat is still a tiny bit sore, though I suspect that could be from my allergies more than anything else. There’s no residual light-headedness or dizziness or fatigue either. Thus far, I am normal and healthy again (heart shtick notwithstanding).

I had the Pfizer vaccine. One of my relatives had the Moderna vaccine and they ended up getting full blown flu symptoms for about two to three days and experienced much more discomfort than I did (our immune systems are roughly the same). So, if you haven’t had your vaccine yet, this could be something to keep in mind when you make your appointments.

My parents are scheduled for their second dose of the vaccine about six days before I am, so at least I’ll have a better idea of what kinds of things to expect after that one. The second dose is also the one that can really knock a person out with discomfort from what I’ve heard around the friend and family grapevine, so I’m not looking forward to it at all.

My second dose is scheduled for the end of the month. I’ll give y’all another update on how that one fares once it’s all done and over with. If I do have any negative or ugly symptoms, I’ll wait to write-up the update until after it all goes away, like this time, so I can give y’all the most accurate experiences possible. Please do keep in mind that everyone is different, so my symptoms and side effects may not necessarily be ones that you’ll experience. You may have a stronger immune system and may not have any realm of discomfort at all, or you may have a ton more. I merely wanted to share my experiences here to help anyone that may be curious about the after-effects so they can better prepare for it.

If you any questions that weren’t answered in this post, please drop them in the comments for me and I’ll do my best to answer accordingly!

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16 thoughts on “Sunday Chai & Chat: COVID Vaccine Dose #1 Symptoms & Overall Experiences

  1. Pingback: Sunday Chai & Chat: COVID Vaccine Dose #2 Symptoms & Overall Experiences | BiblioNyan

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  3. I was lucky I was able to get my vaccination done earlier than most. My parents and grandma had their first dose last month since they’re immunocompromised and in that older age bracket. The pharmacists at Sam’s Club are on friendly terms with my stepdad. He talked to them and they said they’d call me over if they had any extra vaccines since I’m also an essential worker (food service). I got lucky since they happened to have one extra moderna vaccine for the day. My arm was also really sore for the first 2 days. It was fine at first, but gradually felt like it was feeling really heavy and painful. But I was good after 2 days. The second dose seems to be the one where most people experience side effects though. I just had my second dose last Monday. I ended up having a fever, chills, soreness, and a headache for like 2-3 day. I basically just took Tylenol and slept for like 20-30 hours straight lol

    • That’s probably what I’ll do if I get sick after the second dose haha. The first one definitely made me super exhausted, but I think that’s because literally everything that I take for my heart has a “drowsiness” and “fatigue” side effect sobs

      • Honestly, my fever wasn’t that bad, but I was pretty exhausted from lack of sleep and too much work. So that’s probably one of the reasons why I just slept like a log for 20-30 hours lolol Oh no! Well I hope the second dose isn’t too bad for you! I know it basically just varies for everyone.

  4. My family and I got the Moderna. They both had arm pain. I had pain only when I lifted it and a bit of a rash. So fortunately we had very mild symptoms. They get their second dose this week. Sorry you and several of your family members had strong side effects, but hopefully your second dose doesn’t prove to be nearly as bad!

  5. I’m sorry it hurt so much. I almost feel a kind of survivor guilt. My own first shot felt sore a couple of days later and that was that. I ascribed it to amplifying my existing arthritis. My wife felt some nausea and a headache in addition to the soreness.

    OTOH, maybe you are lucky. I have read speculation that a stronger immune response means your vaccination “took” better. My wife the nurse indicates anecdotally that younger people seem to have have stronger reactions. That could be because they have naturally stronger immune systems.

    Maybe you can count yourself lucky. 🙂

  6. Thank you for having the decency, honesty, and courage to share this. It’s clear that there is some peer pressure to pretend that there’s nothing to it. No big deal. Etc. Even if one is still determined to have the vaccine, it’s good to know you need to plan on one or two days off work or other activities, just in case.

    • No problem! I’ve read how a lot of people haven’t had any side effects at all, and I knew that’s not going to be true for everyone. I just figured this way, as you mentioned, people can prepare in case if they have to take a couple of days off of work to recuperate. My dad had to do that because of how sick he became.

      • I read an article in one of the medical sites I follow about how they were advising medical facilities NOT to vaccinate all of their personnel at once because it was making many people ill enough to take a few sick days so it would leave them shorthanded at a rather bad time. There is clearly a bit of propagandizing going on towards the public. We need a dose of the truth.

        • That makes sense. I remember when the vaccines first started rolling out something similar did occur. So many medical staff became unavailable due to terrible reactions to the medicine and no one was prepared for it in the slightest.

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