I got the second COVID Moderna vaccine dose on Monday morning. Same as the first dose, I had a long line to wait in.
While waiting the volunteers passed out goodies. UC Davis Health sponsors the local soccer team, the Sacramento Republic, so all the gifts were related to the team. They were out of soccer balls so I got a t-shirt.
Once inside I got the vaccine pretty fast. Easy and simple just like the first time.
Initially the side effects were normal shot stuff. My shoulder hurt because it had been stabbed but otherwise I felt fine.
The Moderna vaccine is an mRNA vaccine. After injection your body’s cells accept the mRNA and turn it into protein parts of the virus. Those proteins go into your body and your immune system recognizes them as virus bits. Thinking you’re under attack the immune system begins an immune response to protect you from the invader. One of the most common immune responses is fever. Cook the virus away!
Monday evening I started shivering as my fever set in and my room felt really cold compared to my body temperature. Along with the fever came a headache, dehydration, and loss of appetite.
Ibuprofen broke the fever but took about an hour to work. At that point I felt uncomfortable, but okay.
Tuesday morning the ibuprofen had worn off bringing back the evening’s symptoms along with a new fun friend, nausea.
After leaning over the toilet for a few minutes the nausea passed. I took ibuprofen again and called in sick to work.
The rest of Tuesday passed in 6 hour cycles. 1st hour, suffer and wait for ibuprofen to work. 2nd hour, feel okay. 3rd and 4th hours, nap. 5th hour, feel okay. 6th hour, ibuprofen wears off and I suffer again because I need to wait six hours between doses to avoid stomach damage (especially with almost no food eaten).
I was still feeling awful when I went to bed Tuesday night. When my infant son woke up at 1:30am I got up too and realized I didn’t have a fever even though it’d been 7 hours since my last ibuprofen. Hurray! Fever broken!
I was still dehydrated though. I stayed home Wednesday from work to recover and drink lots of water.
So that’s the Moderna vaccine. I’m glad I’m protected. And at least I know I have an immune response firsthand!
For those of you reading this, I’d recommend not having anything significant planned for the day after your vaccination. While it’s possible to have no side effects to the second dose, it’s also possible to have a more extreme response like mine.
I’m also looking forward to when a children’s vaccine is developed. Children often have more mild immune responses which would obviously be less uncomfortable.
If you do end up feeling bad when you get your vaccine you can feel better using the same little song I used.
“1, 2, 3, 4, My arm feels so sore!
5, 6, 7, 8, It feels great to vaccinate!”