My Wuhan Virus Vaccine Adventure

 

Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.

It started on Thursday, Dec. 17. When I arrived at work, I saw an email with a link to schedule my first Pfizer shot. I clicked the link and discovered all the slots were filled for the next three days, and no appointments were activated for the next week. Okay, then.

A short time later, I got a message from my wife. She told me that she had gotten a text from the hospital with a link to schedule a shot. This is odd because she has not worked there for three years. I did my regular shift, went home, and had her show me the text when she got up. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link. Using her phone, I was able to an appointment at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19. Okay, then.

On my way to work on Friday, Dec. 18, I got a text message. When I got to work, since I never, ever, never look at my phone when I’m driving, I checked and saw the text was from the hospital. This was a confirmation for my appointment to have the vaccine administered. At 10:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18. Okay, then.

When I went into preshift, my boss told me that I was assigned to be resource RN for the unit: Assist with procedures, relieve for lunch breaks, manage sedations, etc. He then told me that they were giving the shots on a walk-up basis. If I wanted the vaccine, I could go, then care for the patients of other staff while they got theirs. Okay, then.

I went to the auditorium where the shots were being administered. The atmosphere was ebullient, almost giddy. Everyone was smiling and joking. I told them I had an appointment and they canceled it, no big deal. While I was waiting my turn, after filling out the paperwork, a staff member from another unit came back out. She said that she was having second thoughts and didn’t want the shot just then. That put some sand in the gears, as apparently there was no way for the scheduling software to cancel someone after they had checked in.

So I went and got the vaccine. Since I had on a long-sleeve undershirt, I had to give all the ladies a show to bare my arm. (I may be over 60, but I have the abs, pecs, and delts of a 50-year-old.) The shot was no worse than my annual flu vaccine. They then had me go into a hallway where there were chairs set up, six-feet-apart of course, for us to sit and be observed for 30 minutes in case of a reaction. I looked around: No oxygen, no suction, no crash cart. I asked what would happen if I had a reaction. “We’ll take you to the ER,” I was informed. “Let’s cut out the middleman,” I replied. “I’ll just go back to work … in the ER.” I still had to sign a waiver.

On the way out, I asked the people up front if they had my correct phone number. They did. My wife’s number was just listed as my emergency contact. I also checked to see if they had her still listed as an employee. They did not. I still have no idea why the text got sent to her phone and not mine.

The rest of the shift went uneventfully. My arm was a little sore, but nothing that hindered my job performance. I felt a little more tired than usual and did not work out after my shift as I normally do. I went to bed before my wife got up in the morning, also unusual. I then slept for ten hours straight; very unusual. Then I was fine. Other than the excessive sleep and my arm being sore for a few days, I had no reaction to the shot.

Others were not so lucky. We had one employee with shortness of breath and chest tightness, one whose arm swelled after the shot, and one who had a syncopal episode (passed out). All three had their symptoms resolve and none were admitted. Just about everyone had minor reactions, usually being tired and soreness at the site of the injection.

So we can all take off our masks, right? Nope. My manager sent out an email telling us all we had to continue maintaining strict precautions. After all, the vaccine is only 95% effective, so “one of your colleagues can still be infected.” There are a lot more than 20 employees in our department, so it would be a lot more than “one of your colleagues.” Also, at what point does herd immunity kick in?

If the administration did not know how to contact me before the first shot, they sure did afterward. I got messages every day via text (to my phone), my work email, and my home email asking me to schedule the second vaccine. The registration worked flawlessly this time. While I was getting the shot, I noticed there was a pharmacist with an “Anaphylaxis Box” and oxygen in the room. I still waived the observation period.

I had been told by coworkers that the reactions to the second shot were worse than for the first. Not for me. I did a full shift after the injection, worked out, stayed up to say “good morning” to my wife, and slept my normal six hours. My arm was sore for a couple of days, and that was it. It’s now a week later and I’m still alive and kicking.

My wife was a little reluctant to have the shot because she’s allergic to the flu vaccine. She decided to risk it, scheduled an appointment at her work, and made me come with her. I asked:

“Why do I need to come? They have oxygen and a crash cart, don’t they?”

“Yea and when was the last time any of the clinic doctors used that stuff? I’m bringing you along to run the code.”

“Okay, then.”

She got the Moderna vaccine. We waited 30 minutes, headed home, and hung out with friends that evening. She talked about being tired, went to bed early, and didn’t wake up … until 10 a.m. This is someone who has swim practice at 5:15 every morning. She missed swimming and had canceled all her gym appointments. She was groggy most of the day. Of course, the Benadryl she took before the injection may have had something to do with it. She went to work that night and has been fine since.

Last night, an employee from another site came to our hospital to get the first vaccine. At 10:30 p.m. We told her that they had shut it down at 8, but she had an appointment for 10:30 on her phone. I walked her back to the area where they were giving the shots; one was there of course. So, the vaccines seem to work great. The people managing the distribution, on the other hand….

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There are 23 comments.

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  1. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    Thanks for the play-by-play. I laughed out loud several times. Sounds like one hospital is just as efficient as another. Loved that you took her back to prove they weren’t still vaccinating. I’m going to have to find a way to share this with my former co-workers. They will love it.

    • #1
  2. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    My lab supervisor neighbor’s experience was similar to yours. No reaction to shot #1. After #2, developed a fever which passed within 24 hours. Sore arm for a few days. Don’t know about sleep / fatigue – I’ll ask the next time I see him. I note that I know several people who have the other described symptoms associated with shot. I’m sure they would react the same with an injection of sterile water. At least one person I know suffers these reactions upon the mere sight of a needle.

    • #2
  3. Bob W Member
    Bob W
    @WBob

    JosePluma: So we can all take off our masks, right? Nope. My manager sent out an email telling us all we had to continue maintaining strict precautions. After all, the vaccine is only 95% effective, so “one of your colleagues can still be infected.” There are a lot more than 20 employees in our department, so it would be a lot more than “one of your colleagues.” Also, at what point does herd immunity kick in?

    This is the one issue that I just can’t figure out, and can’t find addressed anywhere: It’s not yet known whether the vaccine prevents people from being able to contract and transmit the virus. If it turns out that it does not prevent transmission, then doesn’t that mean that herd immunity cannot be achieved with the vaccine? Herd immunity means there’s a certain critical mass of people who can’t transmit the virus, not a certain number who merely don’t get sick. 

    The answer to this question would seem to be hugely important. But I see public health people talking about these two questions as if they aren’t connected. They talk as if herd immunity is a foregone conclusion, while also acknowledging that it’s unknown whether the vaccine will prevent transmission. 

    • #3
  4. Some Call Me ...Tim Coolidge
    Some Call Me ...Tim
    @SomeCallMeTim

    Great post. Thanks for doing it.

    What gets me is that we will continue with all the precautions as if there were no vaccine. Why get the shot if the TPTB are not going to loosen the restrictions?

    Tim

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    You write such great posts, Jose!! I laughed out loud a couple of times. My own experience had some jiggles in it re scheduling, but the staff directing us at the Orlando Convention Center were very friendly and helpful. The shot hurt a bit when I received it; my husband had the same nurse and his didn’t hurt. And my arm hurt a little the next day. No other problems. And I’m going to expect the same experience with shot #2. Like I said, boring. Tell your wife to pass on the Benadryl next time . . . sheesh. . .

    • #5
  6. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    Why bother- to many here it’s just the flu! But I guess the flu must be much worse than I thought 

    COVID-19 as the Leading Cause of Death in the United States

    Steven H. Woolf, MD, MPH1; Derek A. Chapman, PhD1,2; Jong Hyung Lee, MS2Author Affiliations Article InformationJAMA. 2021;325(2):123-124. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.24865

    https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2774465?guestAccessKey=0b674faa-469a-4197-b542-84b38d1ac04e&utm_source=silverchair&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=article_alert-jama&utm_term=mostread&utm_content=olf-widget_01152021

    • #6
  7. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    Bob W (View Comment):
    This is the one issue that I just can’t figure out, and can’t find addressed anywhere:

    My husband thinks it’s like a lot of the recommendations they have been giving – it’s not based on facts, it’s based on their trying to control behavior with scary talk.

    He thinks they are afraid that if people who have had the vaccine stop wearing masks, then people who have not had the shot will stop wearing their masks. It may be a valid fear, but giving phony reasons just continues to contribute to the point where we are now – people have stopped trusting the official advice. They have lied too many times.

    • #7
  8. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    How we ever won the Second World War or got to the Moon is beyond me. This group of clowns can’t get anything right.

    • #8
  9. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    How we ever won the Second World War or got to the Moon is beyond me. This group of clowns can’t get anything right.

    Those accomplishments were by different groups of clowns. Less clowny.

    • #9
  10. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Fritz (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    How we ever won the Second World War or got to the Moon is beyond me. This group of clowns can’t get anything right.

    Those accomplishments were by different groups of clowns. Less clowny.

    We need that early group of Americans running things now.

    • #10
  11. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Gary Robbins: How we ever won the Second World War or got to the Moon is beyond me. This group of clowns can’t get anything right.

    We’ve completely lost the mindset. And primarily because we are too risk adverse. 338 Americans have “slipped the surly bonds of earth” and there have been 20 fatalities among that group either during training or flights. That’s a fatality rate of almost 6%. 

    Now look at how we view Covid. There is no level of acceptable risk. Soon immortality will be a plank in the Democratic manifesto.

    • #11
  12. JosePluma Thatcher
    JosePluma
    @JosePluma

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    How we ever won the Second World War or got to the Moon is beyond me. This group of clowns can’t get anything right.

    The scientists who developed the vaccine are geniuses, on a level with the people who developed the B-29, atomic bomb, and moon program. The people who are scheduling and distributing the vaccines are a mixed bag. (See, for example, @eb‘s post about Florida.) The government morons at all levels of moronic government have done a moronically bad job throughout this entire moronic mess.

    • #12
  13. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins: How we ever won the Second World War or got to the Moon is beyond me. This group of clowns can’t get anything right.

    We’ve completely lost the mindset. And primarily because we are too risk adverse. 338 Americans have “slipped the surly bonds of earth” and there have been 20 fatalities among that group either during training or flights. That’s a fatality rate of almost 6%.

    Now look at how we view Covid. There is no level of acceptable risk. Soon immortality will be a plank in the Democratic manifesto.

    Immortality and immorality. Win win.

    • #13
  14. BettyRubble Coolidge
    BettyRubble
    @Cindy Higgins

    For a minute there I thought you were talking about my former place of employment. 

    • #14
  15. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    JosePluma (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    How we ever won the Second World War or got to the Moon is beyond me. This group of clowns can’t get anything right.

    The scientists who developed the vaccine are geniuses, on a level with the people who developed the B-29, atomic bomb, and moon program. The people who are scheduling and distributing the vaccines are a mixed bag. (See, for example, @eb‘s post about Florida.) The government morons at all levels of moronic government have done a moronically bad job throughout this entire moronic mess.

    More importantly, more government means more morons in the loop. One of the greatest laments is “why God, when I plan to handle 99 morons, do you send 100?”

    Or as they say at Babcock & Wilcox ( nuclear design firm that designed Three Mile Island)- “designed by geniuses but run by morons”.

    • #15
  16. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins: How we ever won the Second World War or got to the Moon is beyond me. This group of clowns can’t get anything right.

    We’ve completely lost the mindset. And primarily because we are too risk adverse. 338 Americans have “slipped the surly bonds of earth” and there have been 20 fatalities among that group either during training or flights. That’s a fatality rate of almost 6%.

    Now look at how we view Covid. There is no level of acceptable risk. Soon immortality will be a plank in the Democratic manifesto.

    Immortality ……… and Death Panels to make Single Payer Health Care viable! So you’ll live forever in never-ending sickness and/or agony in the lowest-quality nursing facilities. (as a kid, I actually saw something like that posited in an old Superman comic, where he visited a planet that had figured out how to keep people from dying, but not how to keep them living functionally productive lives into their second century and beyond).

    • #16
  17. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    Quietpi (View Comment):

    My lab supervisor neighbor’s experience was similar to yours. No reaction to shot #1. After #2, developed a fever which passed within 24 hours. Sore arm for a few days. Don’t know about sleep / fatigue – I’ll ask the next time I see him. I note that I know several people who have the other described symptoms associated with shot. I’m sure they would react the same with an injection of sterile water. At least one person I know suffers these reactions upon the mere sight of a needle.

    I had a similar experience- but in fact the mild symptoms after the 2nd shot is probably a good sign- those are symptoms of a preexisting immunity- ie your body recognizes the foreign agent and has a quick response to it- exactly what you want. I’ve had similar “reactions” to flu vaccines that are specifically targeting “swine flu” b/c I have had the swine flu (H3N2)during earlier pandemics 

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    You folks are making me a little nervous. I had only a slightly sore arm after the first shot. I’m scheduled for my second shot on Feb. 8 (two days after 21 days, due to no open slots on the 6th). My surgery is Feb. 11. I was able to re-schedule my first shot just by going on their website because appts. came open; I wonder if I should try to move it to Feb. 6? Thoughts?

    • #18
  19. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    You folks are making me a little nervous. I had only a slightly sore arm after the first shot. I’m scheduled for my second shot on Feb. 8 (two days after 21 days, due to no open slots on the 6th). My surgery is Feb. 11. I was able to re-schedule my first shot just by going on their website because appts. came open; I wonder if I should try to move it to Feb. 6? Thoughts?

    The symptoms weren’t severe and passed w/in ~24 hrs. YMMV

    • #19
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    MiMac (View Comment):
    YMMV

    What is YMMV? ;-)

    • #20
  21. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):
    YMMV

    What is YMMV? ;-)

    Your mileage may vary- commonly used as an internet abbreviation for your experience may differ. I am a poor typist (particularly on my iPad) so I resort to abbreviations if at all possible- I only hesitate if it totally obscures the meaning.

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):
    YMMV

    What is YMMV? ;-)

    Your mileage may vary- commonly used as an internet abbreviation for your experience may differ. I am a poor typist (particularly on my iPad) so I resort to abbreviations if at all possible- I only hesitate if it totally obscures the meaning.

    No worries! I’m always glad to learn the new lingo. That one is cool! Thanks.

    • #22
  23. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    MiMac (View Comment):

    JosePluma (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    How we ever won the Second World War or got to the Moon is beyond me. This group of clowns can’t get anything right.

    The scientists who developed the vaccine are geniuses, on a level with the people who developed the B-29, atomic bomb, and moon program. The people who are scheduling and distributing the vaccines are a mixed bag. (See, for example, @eb‘s post about Florida.) The government morons at all levels of moronic government have done a moronically bad job throughout this entire moronic mess.

    More importantly, more government means more morons in the loop. One of the greatest laments is “why God, when I plan to handle 99 morons, do you send 100?”

    Or as they say at Babcock & Wilcox ( nuclear design firm that designed Three Mile Island)- “designed by geniuses but run by morons”.

    • #23