For me personally, I do not do well with vaccines. I have to consider whether the vaccine side effects are worth risking compared to the prevention the vaccine will give. My immune system reacted terribly with Gardasil and thus, I only received the first vaccine; there was no way I could consider the subsequent two boosters.
With COVID-19, though, there was no question for me that the risk of disease was way higher than the risk of vaccine reactions because I am diabetic, obese, immune compromised, and asthmatic. I knew intuitively that I wanted a Moderna or Pfizer, and as someone in group 1B in Texas, Moderna was the only widely available vaccine at the time I received my first shot in February. (If I could pick at this point, I would choose Pfizer based on the lesser reactions of those around me who got it compared to the reactions of those around me who got Moderna. My adult daughter who received Moderna feels the same way.) I was told intuitively to expect to be down for two days with the first shot and a week with the second, and that ended up being true for me.
I documented what I went through with each shot so I could let others see what someone who does not do well with vaccines went through. It was miserable, especially the second shot, but it still was better than a tube down my throat in the ICU. I will get a booster when they are available to help against variants in the future. The reactions below are also far better than what I've gone through in the past, and I would love if mRNA technology is used to revamp other vaccines so I could get boosters for some of those.
9 hours after the first vaccine: Body aches have kicked in. I still have swollen lymph nodes under my jaw. There's pain in my upper left arm though not necessarily on the injection site itself. Severe drowsiness but I can't sleep. And most odd of all, I feel stoned. Like I took prescription painkillers, but I haven't. I have ibuprofen in me and that's it. My temperature is normal.
11 hours after the first vaccine: It's now harder to lift my left (vaccinated) arm above my head than to left my right (frozen shoulder) arm above my head. Still no redness or swelling at the injection site. Still exhausted. Still brain fogged and feeling drugged though I'm not. Lots of body aches. Swollen lymph nodes under my jaw. Normal temperature. Taking a hot bath and going to bed.
23 hours post-first vaccine: I feel very flu-like with body aches everywhere. I'm very drowsy and fatigued. My injection arm feels like someone punched it, but I still have full range of motion. No redness or swelling. Lots of lymph congestion throughout my body. I expected to feel like this after the second but didn't expect it to be quite so bad after the first.
27 hours post-first vaccine: I had previously scheduled an appointment to see my chiropractor today as their office has a system of processing vaccines to reduce the body's negative response. My arm is not as sore, I'm not as spaced out, and the body aches are less. I'm still very tired but not quite as drowsy.
34 hours post first vaccine: I am reminding myself that this is better than the ICU. Lots of body aches, mild headache, arm pain, fatigue. No fever, no rash, no redness. TONS of lymph congestion but I have lymph drainage scheduled tomorrow which should help a bunch.
47 hours after the first vaccine: SO MUCH BETTER. When I woke up at 2:45 last night (39.5 hours post-vaccine), the body aches were gone. When I woke up this morning, the arm pain is 80% gone. Now I mainly just feel like I have way too much lymph clogging my system, but I have a manual lymph drainage session scheduled this afternoon.
54 hours after first vaccine: I feel almost normal again. Manual lymph drainage cleared out the congestion so my body doesn't feel like it is ready to explode. My injection arm is at 90%. (My frozen shoulder arm is way more miserable.) Generally speaking, I'd say I'm done with the misery of the first shot.
90 minutes after second dose administered on March 10, 2021 at 7:45 pm: My left arm hurts at the injection site almost as much as my frozen shoulder. It was already getting bad by the time we left 15 minutes after the vaccine. My lymph nodes are already swelling, too. I'm tired and achy, but that's likely "just" the stress of a very long day involving quite a bit of frustration.
14 hours after the second injection: I woke up during the night after 7 hours and the aches had started. I am very drowsy. My arm hurts less than last night but is still very noticeable. No fever but I feel feverish.
19 hours post second vaccine: I'm in better shape than I was at this point after the first vaccine. My arm is sore and I am tired and achy, but I can function minimally. I'm going to go nap. If I had a desk job, I could probably have worked half a day today, but it would have been hard to do a full day. Definitely could not have done a manual labor job today. I also had a headache during the night, but I wasn't sure if that was hormones or allergens or stress or injection.
21 hours post second vaccine: Holy fuck. I got the free upgrade. Body aches, muscle aches, joint pain, headache, 100.1 fever, injection site redness and swelling. Someone replaced my bed with a pile of gravel and bricks. Sleep is not happening. Tylenol is not helping.
23 hours post second vaccine: Now at 101.7. This is the equivalent of the full-blown flu. I am miserable. It was not this bad last time.
24.5 hours after the second vaccine: I've taken prescription painkillers and am still at 101.9. Going to try to go to bed. May Mr. Sandman come bless me tonight.
36 hours post-second vaccine: My fever peeked at 101.9 last night and then slowly dropped in the overnight hours. I'm down to 99.1 this morning. I got sleep in chunks of 15 minutes to 2 hours which is far from ideal but is better than nothing. I'm very achy and sore and tired. I still have a low grade headache. My lymph in my neck is swollen terribly. The red bullseye lump on my arm is bigger and redder.
42 hours post second vaccine: Manual lymph drainage helped TREMENDOUSLY. I am not nearly so achy after the drainage, but I still hurt all over. Both my chiropractor and my lymph drainage therapist thought I felt hot even though my temperature was normal going in the office. My chiropractor though the welt on my arm looked worse than a wasp bite; the LMT thought it looked huge. I am very tired. Today's new symptom is dizziness, so I'm having to take care when I switch positions. Headache is gone.
47.5 hours after the second vaccine: I spoke too soon. The fever is back (100.8 so far), and the accompanying fever body aches are as well.
64 hours after the second vaccine: My fever broke during the night. I still feel awful, but for the first time in days, my frozen shoulder is the most noticeable pain in my body, so that's progress in a really warped kind of way. I am tired and mildly achy. The welt and lump on my arm are still huge and haven't really gone down. It's going to be a quiet couch day.
72 hours post second vaccine: The fever is back! I'm at 100 tonight with a mild cough. Body aches. Headache. Fatigue. I was "just" fatigued all day. SIGH. But if I lose one degree off the fever every night, I will be back to normal in another two nights.
74.5 hours post second vaccine: My injection site/welt is beginning to itch like crazy.
3 days, 15 hours post second vaccine: I'm feeling gross. Fever is gone overnight as has been the pattern but I still feel feverish. The welt is less red and a bit smaller but still itches.
4 days, 0 hours after second vaccine: Only about half a degree above normal temperature tonight, so that's progress. I've been fatigued and achy all day. Swollen lymph nodes. Welt on my arm which really itches.
4 days, 16 hours after the second vaccine: I woke up this morning feeling mostly normal. Tired, mildly achy, and very lymph-y. I am still tired but after lymph drainage, I'm just tired without many aches and far less lymph congestion. The welt is still there but is less red, less swollen, more bruised, and still itchy.
6 days, 0 hours after the 2nd vaccine: I've been very tired all day. My arm is at about 80%. It still looks bruised and will itch every once in a while.
On day 8, I began to feel like my normal self again.
(A follow-up post on other atypical symptoms I experienced can be found here.)
©2021 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC