The COVID-19 pandemic has been inflicting the whole world for a year now. But finally, we have available vaccines that will help fight and end this pandemic. The first vaccines available in the United States came from Pfizer and Moderna.
As a nurse working in the frontlines, I am one of the first who received this vaccine, specifically Pfizer’s. In this post, I will share the facts and my experience with Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
I know there’s a lot of misinformation and misconception about the COVID-19 vaccine. The Center for Disease Control website contains the best source of information in different languages regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and its vaccine. Here are some of the summary of facts regarding this vaccine:
How does Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine work?
Both Pfizer and Moderna are using a new type of vaccine technology. A typical vaccine (like your annual flu shot) contains a live weakened or dead virus administered to a recipient to promote antibody production.
Pfizer and Moderna are using the new mRNA or messenger RNA technology. mRNA is like instruction for our cells. Once this type of vaccine is injected to a patient, the muscle cells will ‘read’ the instructions in the mRNA. The cells will produce a specific “spike protein” similar to the coronavirus.
The presence of spike proteins in our body activates our immune system for antibody production. Through this, you’ll develop immunity against the coronavirus.
What are the possible side effects?
Side effects are similar to your annual flu shot. It can cause injection site pain or soreness, low grade fever, fatigue, muscle ache, headache, and/or joint pain. These side effects can last for 1 or 2 days and taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen can help ease the symptoms.
These side effects are expected and it’s a sign that the vaccine is working. Because every time our immune system is activated to produce antibodies against a pathogen (like a virus or bacteria), it is natural for our body to produce fever, muscle aches, or joint pain.
Contact your doctor if your side effects are persistent for more than 5 days. This signifies that the symptoms may not be related to the vaccine.
How effective is the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine?
Pfizer vaccine needs to be given for 2 doses at 21 days apart. After a week of receiving the second dose, you’ll receive 95% effectiveness in preventing against COVID-19.
Can the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine alter my DNA?
This is a great misconception among the general population. There’s no evidence that these vaccines can alter our DNA.
Do I still need to wear a mask after getting the vaccine?
Yes. Vaccines take time to work. Remember that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will only reach 95% effectiveness 7 days after your second dose. That’s why you should continue wearing your mask and follow the safety protocols.
My Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Experience
I got my first shot on the third week of December 2020. It was fast and quick. The only concern that I have with it is the allergic reaction. Although I don’t have any history of severe allergies to anything, I am still concerned since it is a ‘new’ vaccine. I stayed for 5-10 minutes in the observation area and monitored for any adverse reaction.
After it, I went home, and I continued my routine as usual. The next day, I felt soreness in the injection area and had some fatigue. The side effects didn’t last for days and I felt okay for the next weeks.
Three weeks after the first dose, I got my second shot. This time, the side effects are stronger compared to the first. Moreover, I suddenly felt extremely tired later that night. I literally went to bed early and I can’t get up because of the fatigue.
The next day, I experienced some headache, vague joint and muscle pain, and low-grade fever of 100.1 F (37.8 C). I just took some Tylenol, and it eased my symptoms.
I felt much better on the third day after the second shot. Although, I still got tired but not as bad as the second day. I no longer have fever and I was able to do my daily routine after it.
The general public has a lot of concerns about these vaccines. But let me tell you this. I’ve been taking care of COVID patients since the start of the pandemic. I know how bad this disease is and healthcare workers like me are exhausted. With this vaccine, I take part of this milestone in ending the pandemic.
Once this vaccine is available in your area, go ahead and take it. Be part of history in ending this pandemic. A few decades from today, the younger generation will ask us about our contributions in stopping this pandemic. Taking the vaccine is a big step forward.
If you still have doubts about it, don’t rely on conspiracies and fiction. Talk to your doctor and discuss your concerns. For more information about this vaccine, please visit cdc.gov