“I feel like Batman beat me up,” a teacher friend told me a day after she received her second dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine.
“Adam West Batman or Ben Affleck Batman?”
“Christian Bale hockey pants Batman.”
True. Freaking. Statement.
I can confirm: the second (Pfizer) vaccination side effects are rather unpleasant, especially when you already exist in a state of chronic inflammation. It’s so incredibly worth it, though.
The vaccine side-effects suck far less than dying alone, suffering with “long COVID” for months (especially when I’m already a tired panda!), or murdering someone else by breathing on them, though.
If you’ve been following along, you know I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis; naturally, I’ve been a LOT nervous about catching COVID and a little nervous about my reaction to these (relatively) brand new vaccines.
Mayo Clinic says, “there is limited information about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines in people who have … autoimmune conditions.” As of the date of this post, yeah, that’s still the case because the best and brightest doctors and scientists all over the world are still studying it. Science takes awhile because smart people like to get their facts straight. Weird, right?
In case you’re on the fence about whether or not to get a vaccine, I thought I’d write a little about my experiences with the Pfizer COVID vaccines. This is anecdotal; it is just one story in a sea of many, but just in case it can help someone, I thought I’d write it down.
Of course, you should ALWAYS consult your doctor before taking medical advice from some rando on the internet [i.e me].
If you’re medically cleared to get your vaccine and are just ravenously soaking up as much information as you can possibly find before you get your jab, though, this post is for you.
Information sponge that I am, I would have appreciated reading it before I got mine, so here it is!
My (Very Limited, Not-A-Doctor) Experience:
My first vaccine experience went smoothly; as a former teacher, I’ve been jabbed with pencils that hurt worse than the needle’s little pinch. After the first jab, I was a touch tired, maybe a little warm that night, a bit on the achy side, but otherwise functional. My husband (who has babesiosis and lyme disease in remission) was a touch worse off than I was after the first one—he generally felt crummy—but was otherwise fine.
We had nothing of note to report after it or during the three week waiting period after.
The second vaccine… that was a different story.
The jab itself was, again, fine—comparable to the twinge of a flu shot and certainly a FAR better experience for me than the Gardasil vaccine, which felt like creeping molten lava flooding my arm.
Twelve hours after the second Pfizer vaccine, however, the side-effects rattled me. Literally. It felt like the worst flu I’ve ever had coupled with the worst hangover (sans nausea, thank God)—and a migraine. My skin, muscles, and joints all throbbed with every heartbeat, and I also had severe shakes and teeth-clattering chills, which sent the pain rattling through me. I was essentially a pain maraca for a few hours.
Fortunately, IB Profen came to my rescue twelve hours after my shot that night (don’t take pain killers before you take the vaccine, but you can take some after the vaccine, once your symptoms develop! Source here.)
Within 24 hours, I was much better! It hurt, like, a lot, but it was so worth it.
I would say my side-effects lasted longer than have been typically reported; they grew significantly better within a day, but I had more fatigue and aches than usual for the next few days. I may have had a mild Hashi’s flair afterwards, but I don’t know if I can attribute it to that or an external stresser we worked through.
Are you experiencing any long-term symptoms?
A month and a week out from my second shot? I feel great. Flair resolved!
Jason feels awesome too. 🙂 We were nervous it might jumpstart his Lyme symptoms again, since Lyme is so opportunistic, but he pulled through and is feeling fine.
Now, I finally have space to think about something other than surviving. It is such an incredible blessing, and I am so beyond humbled that we were offered this experience.
My Non-Medical and Very Well Meaning Work Advice (I am Not a Doctor) For Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Sufferers (Or really, anybody–this reaction isn’t just limited to those with inflammatory conditions):
The initial side effects from the second vaccine far out-weighed any from any vaccine I’ve received prior (including the flu shot, Gardasil, and even one for yellow fever with weakened-but-live virus!) in severity. However, I was prepared and ready, armed with Gatorade and snacks.
I’d recommend taking the next day off—really. Maybe you’ll get lucky and only get beat up by Lego Batman instead of Christian Bale. Some people are lucky and only have a sore arm!
Worst case, you get to enjoy a day off, but you probably will need it. Arm yourself with lots of fluids and prep your meals for the next day. Comfort food is a must!
Was it worth it?
Yes. A THOUSAND TIMES, YES.
I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Bring on the yearly boosters, if they’re needed!
I am far less terrified of maskholes who refuse to keep their distance at the grocery store; I constantly smile more whenever I’m out and about for my essential errands (not that anyone can tell, since of course I’m still wearing a mask like any person with even a shred of decency does). The fact that I even can leave my house for essentials like vet visits without having an anxiety attack is incredible.
I cannot believe how lucky we are. I am humbled. Grateful for the incredible effort behind each and every vaccine. I am beside myself with joy. There is finally space to breathe in my world.
This was such an incredible gift from dear, generous friends who I cannot believe I am lucky enough to know, and I will never take it or them for granted.
I’m still not sure what to do in return when someone saves your life, but I’m working on it.
Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or another down the line—if you’re nervous or have health concerns, of course talk to your doctor, but the general advice floating around from reputable sources is sound for almost everyone: get whichever vaccine you can as soon as it’s offered. Your life and the lives of vulnerable members in your community depend on it.