Sunday Chai & Chat: COVID Vaccine Dose #2 Symptoms & Overall Experiences

On April 30th, I received my second dose of the COVID vaccine. I went to the same CVS Pharmacy that I visited for my first vaccination dose, which I’ve discussed in detail here for anyone that’s curious about it. Similarly to the preceding post, I’m going to discuss my experiences with getting the shot and how my body reacted to it within the subsequent forty-eight hours.

My rundown for arriving and getting the shot is similar to what occurred on my first visit. I arrived fifteen minutes early, so at 11:30 for an 11:45 appointment. I checked-in at the front desk that was specifically set-up for the vaccination gigs.  Last time I didn’t bring a book or anything, so this time around I made sure to have a book handy, which I was very grateful for as the line for the vaccines was much longer than the previous visit.

After about a thirty to forty minute wait, I was called up to get the dose. The pharmacy technicians and pharmacists were super short-staffed, which explained the much longer wait time, not that I minded. I understood that everyone had their job to do, and I didn’t have anything else planned for the day in case if any symptoms did arise. The lady who distributed the medicine gave me a brief run-down of possible things to expect, then she kept me engaged in conversation while she gave me the shot so I wouldn’t be uncomfortable. I had warned her against my fear of needles. Afterwards, since there are medications that I’m allergic to, they asked me to wait in the designated area for half an hour to ensure that I didn’t have a dangerously negative reaction.

The first side effect I encountered after the first dose was intense arm pain approximately two hours after receiving the shot. This time, however, within the first hour my arm was feeling great agony. I’m glad I drove straight home afterwards because by the time I arrived back at my bed, my entire arm from shoulder to fingertips felt like it had been squeezed relentlessly in a giant vice. Also, within the two hour mark, I was overcome with an incredible sense of lethargy. The exhaustion and sleepiness was another side effect I experienced with my first dose, so this great sense of drowsiness didn’t surprise me that much at all. What did surprise me was the incredible migraine that I ended up getting shortly after the exhaustion slammed into me.

I slept for about ten hours straight. When I woke up in the middle of the night to take my heart medication and some Tylenol for the arm pain, I found that the pain was rippling down in waves along my arm, and it felt wholly bruised. My body also felt greatly heavy and sedated still, and while the migraine was less piercing and intense, I still had a severely uncomfortable ache in my temples. Promptly after taking my regular medications and eating a little bit of food (I had an egg sandwich), I went back to bed and essentially slept through most of Saturday and Sunday.

By Monday morning, I was feeling much better. The pain and sensations of being bruised were limited to a radius surrounding the injection site and the lethargy had completely dissipated. My body still felt a bit tired around the joints, but I wasn’t falling asleep into my bowl of cereal like the preceding couple of days. The headache had diminished to a dull throbbing, which was triggered by light sensitivity mostly.

Just over a week has elapsed since I received my second vaccine dose and I haven’t experienced any other side effects or complications, luckily. I had headaches on most days out of the week over the last seven or eight days, but I’m not sure if that’s from the vaccine or because of the California heat and my sensitivity to it as well as light. However, since it’s something I’ve been dealing with shortly post-vaccination, I thought I would mention it here.

My parents, who received their second dose one week prior to me (one had Pfizer, one had Moderna), also had no other symptoms aside from tiredness and arm pain, but they also took Tylenol before the shot and took it on time, around the clock for the entirety of the weekend which may have helped to minimise their potential reactions to it.

I had the Pfizer vaccine, same as last time. 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 happenings here to help anyone that may be curious about the after-effects so they can better prepare for it, such as taking time off from work or school.

Anyhoo, that pretty much does it for my COVID vaccination process and experiences. If you have 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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11 thoughts on “Sunday Chai & Chat: COVID Vaccine Dose #2 Symptoms & Overall Experiences

  1. Thanks again for sharing your experiences, Neha. I’m sure it will help others prep for it.

  2. I just got my second last week. Was quite sore afterward, but now it’s down to an itchy feeling with a rash. Pretty lucky considering.

  3. Wow! It really got you good.

    My first shot left me with really sore joints and lethargy for a couple days. The second shot was on the day after my birthday and happened to be on the day I went to a nudie resort for some long-scheduled running events. (Did a blog post about it.) I was in no condition to do any running so I wandered about aimlessly and spent a lot of time napping, Three days later the pain was gone and I was fine.

  4. My 1st shot in the UK knocked knocked me out the next day. Though I’m taking part in a long term survey now by the ONS over here and they informed me people who have had Covid seem to be reacting more to the vaccine shots so there was that.

    • My parents both almost died from COVID in December 2020. My dad had some of the worst symptoms with his first shot, but my mum only had arm pain and a mild headache for the most part. Although, I’m not surprised people who’ve undergone the coronavirus have worse symptoms. The immune system stays pretty compromised for a while even after it’s gone. I’ve noticed that exhaustion and sleepiness do seem to be the big side effects that is pretty collective across the board.

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