My Entire Family Was Vaccinated Last Week. This Is How the First COVID-19 Shot Has Affected Us.

Last week, I shared that California let me get vaccinated in the state. This was despite the fact that I’m a Nevada resident with a Nevada state ID. For the record, I have been in the state of California since December 2020, but I don’t have a permanent address here and this is not my home base.

When I received my Moderna shot on Saturday, I became the first person in my family to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. It was not a symptom-free experience for me or the RV friend who came with me. My parents received their Pfizer vaccinations a few days later in Georgia and have also experienced symptoms.

Before I continue, I want to make it clear that sharing our experiences is not meant to alarm you or discourage you from taking the vaccine. I’m sharing so you know what to expect and so you can compare your own experiences if you have already been vaccinated.

The Appointment Processing

I received my vaccination in Riverside County and arrived about 20 minutes before my appointment. There was enough room for parking and there was extra free parking at a nearby lot. While in the line, workers approached me and asked me for my name, appointment time and ID. I was not asked to present any information that I had booked an appointment โ€” not even the confirmation number.

The workers wrote my name and appointment time on a sticky note and stuck it to my ID. There was a line leading into the building, but it was moving at a steady pace. It was fast enough that I didn’t feel compelled to check the time, but I was probably in the line for about 10 minutes. People stayed six feet apart and wore their masks.

Once at the entrance to the building, I presented my ID with the sticky note to another worker. This person had a computer and looked up my appointment time. He asked me if I had proof that I lived in Riverside County because I was carrying a Nevada ID. I informed him that I was actually staying at an RV Park in another county but was sent there by the California vaccination website. I then offered to pull up my rent receipt email or retrieve a copy from the truck.

The guy shook his head in refusal. Instead, he asked me to recite my address. This was the same address used to book my appointment. He matched what I told him, read me the necessary disclaimers, advised me to get the vaccine in my non-dominant arm, and then told me to take a seat.

The Vaccine

I had expected to sit for a while longer, but “take a seat” actually meant it was immediately time to be vaccinated. A nurse was already waiting. It was the most Jamaican vaccine I have ever gotten in America. By that, I mean, she talked very quickly to distract me and then stuck the needle in my arm. Before I could realize what was happening, she was done.

Excellent work.

Very professional.

She put the strongest band-aid on that I have ever had in my life. That thing stayed put through daily showers until I finally found the nerve to tear it off on Friday โ€” and it did not come willingly!

She then wrote a time on a sticker and gave it to me to stick it on my shirt. This time, when I was told to take a seat, it was among other vaccinated people who were being monitored. Workers come in and wiped down seats when people got up and all the seats were spaced six feet apart.

We had on proper masks underneath the gaters. You can see the black straps on our ears.

Once the time expired, which was about 15 minutes, we were allowed to leave. Another worker met us at the front door. He asked us if we were experiencing any symptoms. We told him no and he sent us on our way.

The Side Effects

The side effects experienced by myself, my RV friend and my parents did not seem to vary based on the vaccination we received. I’m mentioning this because I’ve heard a lot of people say they plan to get the Pfizer vaccine because it leads to milder or fewer symptoms. My parents, who received the Pfizer vaccine, experienced more severe symptoms than my RV friend and me. However, they are also older.

Moderna: Alexis

I felt fine when I left the center: so much so, that my RV friend and I decided to make a quick stop at Walmart. We needed to get new batteries for our RVs and wanted to see if a cheap battery we had found online was in stock. Around this time, I started to feel a little spaced out, but I assumed it was because I hadn’t eaten yet. When we completed the hour-drive home, I began to feel even more tired and spaced out. The injection site also started to throb and it became difficult to raise my arm higher than shoulder height.

This may sound frightening, but these were very mild symptoms. In fact, after arriving, we took the FJ and his Subaru offroading and flew my drone. So clearly, it felt more like an inconvenience than an impairment. By evening, the pain grew worse, but it wasn’t debilitating and only hurt when I moved my arm. It continued to hurt for about three more days and I battled with on-and-off drowsiness until around Thursday night.

I developed itchiness around the vaccination site about two days after the vaccine, but it wasn’t severe. It also disappeared by around Thursday night.

Moderna: Kevin

Kevin experienced no symptoms for the first day of receiving the vaccine. He lost his right arm years ago and only has his left. For some reason, the nurse decided to stick him in the remaining left arm, instead of the right shoulder. We’re not sure if this is relevant, but his vaccine was remarkably higher than mine.

The following morning, Kevin started to complain that he had now developed soreness in that arm. Like mine, it wasn’t debilitating: more a nuisance than any cause for serious concern. He also battled with drowsiness and started waking up at some ungodly hours of the afternoon. His sore arm lasted for about two or three days and his drowsiness lasted until around Thursday night.

Pfizer: Dad

The first of my parents to be vaccinated was my dad. He received his vaccine on Monday at a military base and described the experience as gruff with zero bedside manners. They stuck him in the arm, told him to sit for about 10 minutes, and then booted him out the door. He didn’t even get a band-aid for his boo-boo!

Sadly, Dad has also been having the most severe symptoms out of all of us. He is doing well enough, but he has been having fevers on and off. When I spoke to Mom last night, he was in bed riding out the fever. Aside from this, he has been fine.

Pfizer: Mom

Mom received her Pfizer vaccine at a pharmacy on Wednesday. She was very nervous, but got it done and has had much milder symptoms than Dad but more severe than Kevin and I. She has not had a fever, but she complains of severe drowsiness and a sore arm. She says the arm hurts badly enough that she cannot lift anything heavy.

Whereas I started working about two days after receiving my vaccine and only had to have two assignments adjusted because of my drowsiness, Mom says she doesn’t think she could have gone to work with those symptoms. She is back at work today, so I’ll check in with her to see if the drowsiness and painful arm has subsided.

Final Notes

All in all, the process was easy and worth it. I have no qualms about receiving my second vaccine, but I have taken the following workday off already. If I still have symptoms after that Monday, then I’ll just keep burning through my sick days. After all, I work for myself and can always negotiate with myself for more days off at a later date!

If you have specific questions regarding my symptoms, please do not hesitate to ask! I would also love to hear from others who have already received their first or second shots.

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45 thoughts on “My Entire Family Was Vaccinated Last Week. This Is How the First COVID-19 Shot Has Affected Us.

  1. I’ll be getting my second dose in a few weeks, but at least with my first dose, it was only but 36-48 hours of arm soreness/pain and I was otherwise feeling fine. Strange as it sounds, I’m looking forward to my second dose of the vaccine, even if I might receive more-adverse side effects than the first! Glad to hear your family has more-or-less gotten the vaccine, and here’s to hopefully normalcy going forward!

    1. I’m looking forward to mine too, so I totally get it. I feel so much less paranoid while vaccinated. I’m still bring careful but that heavy burden feels lifted quite a bit.

    2. And thank you! My family in Jamaica hasn’t gotten it yet, but we’re all at least one shot in, in America.

  2. Yay! So pleased you & your family have got your first vaccinations, Alexis. ((hugs))
    I had the Oxford Astra Zeneca one – I was tired the following day, but no other symptoms.
    My husband had the Pfizer & had a sore arm & tiredness for a couple of days.
    My parents have had both of their Pfizer ones. Dad had no side effects at all. Mum had none after the 1st, but ached everywhere for a day after the 2nd.
    All of us urge anyone wavering to go and get vaccinated!

    1. I’m looking forward to it! My friend got the Moderna vaccine in Jamaica. I was surprised! She said she got hers through the U.S. Embassy. She works there.

      1. Oh that’s cool! I guess it was specially shipped for her. Goals haha. The vaccine left my left arm very sore as well, but then I started lifting weights that very week so I’m not sure how much of it was post workout soreness vs. from the vaccine. For comparison, my other arm was sore too, and my abs, and my thighs. ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ™ƒ But that arm was the sorest spot of all

      2. There are a lot of Jamaicans working at the embassy, so I think it was for all of them there. She said she couldn’t work out or lift weights even a week after the vaccine.

        I’m glad you’re back to normal though! I’m hoping that second shot isn’t too bad.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that. Thanks for reading! I’ll be updating you guys when I get my second shot.

  3. My wife and I got the Pfizer vaccine at the Arizona state operated mega site at State Farm Stadium. The site operates 24-hours a day, patients stay in their cars like a giant 10-row drive-thru restaurant. In a couple of weeks, they are moving the facility indoors for the summer to avoid making volunteer workers stand in the Arizona heat all day.
    Both shots gave us sore arms, me for a day, my wife for two days on the first shot, both of us had sore arms for about a day on the second shot. That was it for symptoms. We are both in our early 70’s .

    1. That’s amazing that you had no symptoms beyond the sore arms! Also very surprised by this effort from Arizona. I’ve only been around anti-mask Arizonans who didn’t take the virus seriously, so I’m pleasantly surprised.

  4. Moderna for us. First shot, very sore arms and a bit of lethargy for me. Second shot, less sore arm and a low grade fever for me, but it only lasted about 24 hours. All well worth the minor inconvenience.

    1. I’m a little worried about fevers on the second vaccine. I had really bad fevers as a child, bad enough to hallucinate, so fevers are kind of a traumatic experience for me. ๐Ÿ˜… Fingers crossed that if I do get one, it only lasts for a day, like yours!

      1. I can see how that would be frightening, Alexis. I will hold positive thoughts that all goes well for you.

      1. One of my friends had an allergic reaction to the vaccine about 45 minutes later. Same with the second. He didn’t have any COVID-19 symptoms though. I’ve read the same, re people who had the virus being more prone to adverse reactions.

  5. I had my second shot Pfizer on March 18 at York College, here in NY. It was operated by FEMA and the National Guard so it was extremely organized.we were even told what side effects you would have and what to do about it. The first shot, my arm hurt for one day. That was it. The second shot, JESUS! Sore arm, dizziness, and VERY VERY TIRED. IT lasted 3 days. All in all in spite of this, so glad I got the vaccine

    1. The nurses told us the side effects, but I don’t remember her telling me what to do about it. She was talking so fast to distract me, I probably just didn’t catch it at all!

      I’m glad to hear you didn’t have any serious side effects and that what you did have was short lived. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I received my first shot of moderns on March 1st through Kaiser on a same day appointment through the computer. The clinic I went to had a very large room and everything went by very quickly even though there were a lot of people. I feel I didn’t have any reactions or side effects. On April 1st I got my second shot at a local Kaiser clinic. My appointment was for 9:00 a.m. and I showed up 20 minutes before that time. There were a lot of people in the conference room was very small so they can only do no more than 10 people at a time so it took a long time to get through the whole process. I didn’t leave until 10:00 a.m. My arm where they gave me the shot is sore if I press on the area but other than that I don’t feel I had any reactions or symptoms. I don’t feel I had any thing different from getting a flu shot. In fact I feel the flu shot hurt more receiving it than neither one of these shots did. A friend of mine who works for Kaiser as a advice nurse through the phone service, says that they get a lot of calls with reactions from mild to moderate symptoms varying symptoms from people who have received the second shot but they only last a day or so. I’m glad you received your shot and that your family did also and I hope more people get theirs so that we can get back to some form of “normal” but I feel we will be wearing masks for some time yet which is okay by me.

    1. Thanks for sharing! I’m glad you got your second shot and that it was incident free.

      What a long wait, though! Did you have to wait inside with those people? That would have me a little nervous. I don’t really like being inside spaces with other people, even with a mask on. Someone came to work on the RV today and I turned on the air and went for a walk lol. I didn’t want to be in there with him, especially considering how TINY mine is!

      1. Yes I had to be inside with all those people. I have been wearing the KN 95 masks when I go out in public and plan to be near a lot of people. Otherwise I just generally wear a three or four layer cloth mask.

      2. I would have been sweating bullets!! ๐Ÿ˜ญ I double-mask if I’m going to be in certain spaces for too long. I’ve also been wearing those gator things over my mask. They look nicer that way and I’ve heard it also prevents droplets from landing on the mask itself.

  7. I have had both shots, Pfizer. The first left me with a sore arm for a couple of days. Nothing I would even call painful. The second left me with no symptoms at all. Spouse had J&J, no symptoms at all. Daughter had J&J had chills and discomfort for two days. SIL had J&J had a fever and enough discomfort that he took off work from his nursing job. Cousin had J&J yesterday, only slightly sore arm today.

    1. J&J uses DNA instead of RNA, which makes me a little nervous about that one. I’m glad you’re all having mild symptoms though. I’m hoping for the same on that second vaccine, for me!

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