The vaccine is out and being administered and what it’s like to get it

What it’s like to get the vaccine from the perspective of those who have gotten it

Brent Gelick / Talon

Now that the vaccine is out, it is being administered to a variety of essential workers, such as nurses, doctors and now, teachers. 

“Healthcare workers providing direct patient care and doing high risk procedures with COVID patients were given vaccine priority by the CDC. As a nurse and the care I provide with my patient population, I was in Phase 1A of the vaccination planning,” Kaiser Permanente Nurse Jennifer Ponce wrote to the Talon.  

Those who are not directly exposed to the  COVID-19 virus but are adjacent to health care workers are also able to get the vaccine. 

“I’ve been working for the past three years for an employer whose business is a healthcare service business that falls under the 1A phase, so he gave us a link to register,” Oak Park High School alumna and USC student Kristyn Zhang wrote to the Talon. 

Healthcare workers are some of the many first responders that have direct contact with COVID-19. Getting the vaccine enables them to feel more comfortable with helping others. 

“Receiving the COVID vaccine was emotional for me. It was a blessing and a gift,” Ponce wrote.  

Those who are in the education system, like administrators, teachers and staff are now beginning to be vaccinated.

“Ventura County opened up appointments for education on February 24th, ahead of the previously advertised date of March 1. As a teacher’s aide, I was able to qualify under that,” Red Oak Elementary School teacher’s aide Patty Bleau said.

When getting the vaccine, there have been side effects for some with either the first or second shot. 

“My side effects started 24 hours after the vaccinations [and] lasted 48 hours. I had mild symptoms with the first dose. I had soreness at the injection site, mild headache, mild fatigue, and chills without fever. I felt off. [After] the 2nd dose, I had moderate symptoms, [such as an] intense headache, extreme fatigue, intense pain at the infection site, chills, and [a] fever of 101.5,” Ponce wrote. 

All the side effects that happen depend on the individual, since everyone’s physiological response when taking medicine is different. Symptoms can include a sore arm, headaches, fatigue and chills. There are people who don’t experience a side effect. 

“I didn’t experience side effects other than a sore arm which is similar to a flu shot,” Zhang, who has received her first shot, wrote. 

Many of those who have gotten the vaccine feel personal relief and a sense of security. 

“I had three health risk factors that would have made COVID impact more risky.  I love teaching as an aide to the students and have missed helping them in person. Now I can do that without fear. I’m so thankful,” Bleau said. 

Those on the front line have felt much more protected when it comes to helping individuals in the hospital.

“On a personal level, I felt like the vaccine would give me an extra level of protection for me and my family,” Ponce wrote. “We don’t know the long term risks of the Coronavirus disease nor the vaccine. I see the serious symptoms of the disease. I don’t want them and I don’t want to bring them home to my family. With the COVID surge back in December and January, I felt like I needed immediate protection for my health and the health of my family.”