Editor's Note: As of Tuesday morning, use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is paused in Pennsylvania until the cases of six rare blood clots can be reviewed.
This past Saturday, I scheduled an appointment to get a coronavirus vaccine at the Bryce Jordan Center.
I was unsure about getting the vaccine right away, but the more I thought about it, I previously had the coronavirus. Since I am moving to another state in a month to start a new job, I figured it would be best to protect myself and others before leaving.
It was relatively easy to sign up for a vaccine appointment — I scheduled it here.
I tried to find out which vaccine I would be receiving so I could prepare for any potential side effects or if I would require a second dose.
When I learned it would be the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, I was a little hesitant at first. It was approved rather recently, and I had only really seen negative stories on social media.
However, I did love the idea that the vaccine was one and done: I wouldn’t have to wait to get another dose weeks later.
I also independently researched the vaccine to prepare myself for what was to come once I got the shot.
When Saturday came around, I headed to the BJC and had a surprisingly smooth experience.
I arrived at the ticket booth where they took my name and verified my information with a photo ID.
I was then directed to the concourse where I received my vaccine and the now-coveted CDC vaccination card.
After receiving the shot, I had to wait 15 minutes to make sure I had no adverse reactions. Once the time was up, I was on my way.
The entire process was less than a half hour — which was extremely efficient considering the number of people being vaccinated.
The following 8 hours, I felt great with only minor pain at the injection site. I spent my day getting a post-vaccine breakfast at The Waffle Shop and eating dinner at Cafe 210 West.
Right after dinner, the side effects started to set in.
It started with minor body aches and pains and grew from there. I had major body aches, fatigue, chills and a low-grade fever.
My boyfriend was experiencing the same effects as me, as we spent the duration of the symptom period watching movies with cooling towels on our foreheads.
Before bed, we both had a glass of Emergen-C to get some electrolytes and vitamins in our bodies. We also drank a lot of water.
It was most definitely uncomfortable and felt like I had flu symptoms appear out of nowhere, and they remained until the morning after.
The next morning, we both woke with pain at the injection site. The other side effects had dissipated, minus a small headache.
As I’m writing this, I can definitely say the fatigue is still here, but the 12 hours of major effects happened while I was preparing for bed and then sleeping. This was a good thing — I honestly don’t think I could’ve taken more than a few hours.
Overall, I think an evening of side effects is worth it to be protected from the coronavirus. However, it is important to note everyone will have different reactions to the vaccine.
It was a smooth and simple experience to get the vaccine. While the following days were slightly inconvenient, I think the vaccine will make for a better future for everyone.