Receiving the Pfizer Covid Vaccine

Yesterday, I went to CVS for the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Getting the vaccine was much easier this time. When I went for the first dose, the line snaked through the building and I read a book during the hour-long wait. But this time, the line was short and the wait was only ten minutes or so.

After the first dose, there were no side-effects. However, after the second dose, I began to feel ill 20 hours later. First I lost my appetite and was tempted to skip my main meal of the day. I’m glad that I forced myself to eat, because I only grew weaker through the day.

Twenty-two hours post vaccination, I felt extremely cold in our 72˚F home, and it was difficult to stay awake. I wrapped myself in a sweatshirt and blanket and took a two-hour nap.

When I awoke, I still felt extremely cold and my face was quite hot to the touch. I was sure I had a fever, but couldn’t take my temperature for another two hours (the thermometer was in a room where my husband was sleeping). By the time I was able to access the thermometer, my face felt much cooler. But the thermometer still read 98.5˚F when my usual temperature runs between 95.5˚ and 96.5˚.* I went to bed with a stomach ache.

When I awoke this morning, I still felt a bit weak, but my temperature was back to normal (95.7˚). I still have a slight stomach ache and feel less energetic than usual.

But I am thankful to have received the vaccine. I now have to wait 14 days, then I can gradually return to doing things that have been off-limits for a year. I’m looking forward to talking with people on the trail again, without fear of going to the hospital.

Was it worth a day of flu-like symptoms? Definitely. I only hope the immunity lasts a while or that boosters don’t produce similar symptoms. Otherwise, scheduling for a rotating day of sickness may become the norm.


* High, Kevin P., Bradley, Suzanne F., Gravenstein, Stefan, Mehr, David R., Quagliarello, Vincent J., Richards, Chesley, Yoshikawa, Thomas T., Clinical Practice Guideline for the Evaluation of Fever and Infection in Older Adult Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities: 2008 Update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America,Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 48, Issue 2, 15 January 2009, Pages 149–171. “Fever, defined as: (1) A single oral temperature >100°F (>37.8°C); or (2) repeated oral temperatures >99°F (>37.2°C)…; or (3) an increase in temperature of >2°F (>1.1°C) over the baseline temperature…”

UPDATE 12 days post second vaccination:

I have had an upset stomach since the second vaccination, with intermittent stomach pain. Last night, I had intense lower abdominal pain, loose stool, vomiting, and an intense chill. The symptoms came on suddenly. After vomiting, I was seized by sudden, intense, lower-back pain immediately followed by full-body tremors. The tremors started with my legs, then went to my hands and finally my arms. I have never had a problem with tremors or seizures before. The back pain and tremors fully subsided after 10 minutes.

I did not visit a doctor, since it is doubtful that they would definitively blame the Covid vaccine, and I would be stuck with a large hospital bill. However, the symptoms were too peculiar to be attributed to a random illness. I do believe they are a side effect from the vaccine received over a week ago.

This morning I feel tired, but am quickly recovering.

Illustration by Shafin_Protic of Pixabay.

Published by cafsamsel

Carol Fullerton-Samsel is a nearly-native Floridian who lives with her husband of 25 years and three rescue animals. She is a [mostly] vegan, alcohol-free, [relatively] caffeine-free, Buddhist writer and day-hiker. Her novel, The Clones of Langston, was a Reader’s Favorite medalist and a New Century Writer Awards finalist. It tells the story of cloned workers who are abandoned to form their own society. As the facility housing them erodes, they discover a challenging new world—our own.

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