Sometimes personal experience makes for a good story and this Hub is an interesting tale from my personal experience.
My Turn Finally Came
It has been a while but I finally got the first of the two COVID-19 vaccinations a few days ago. Initially I was below the minimum age. When they lowered the age I went to the county Health Department COVID site but no matter how early in the week I checked all the slots for that week were taken. Then the other night I did a Google search and found a different site to try. That one had a long list of grocery stores and pharmacies that were offering the shot.
I went on the site on Sunday evening and got an appointment for 9:15 the next morning at the nearby Kroger grocery store where I do our grocery shopping.
This Was No Big Deal
My wife told me that Facebook was full of selfies of people getting their shot and the other morning’s Wall Street Journal had almost a full page of pictures and stories about people’s adventures in getting their COVID shot.
My experience was smooth and totally uneventful. I showed up about 20 minutes before my appointment time. They checked me in immediately and then I went into a small room where a doctor gave me the shot. Leaving the room I was directed to take a seat in one of the chairs outside the pharmacy section and wait for 15 minutes before leaving.
Despite the fact that my appointment time was 9:15 I had completed my check-in and had been given my shot and was out of the room a minute or two after 9:00. In addition to me three other people had checked in and received their shot before my 9:15 original appointment time.
My Shot After Effects
The shot itself was a simple and quick pin prick with the needle being in and out of my arm in what seemed like a matter of seconds. The doctor did warn me that after the shot I might feel fatigued and/or have soreness in the arm in which I received the shot. Others had warned me that these after effects were more common after the second shot.
I did start to feel a tiny bit of soreness in the area where I received the shot. Remembering the painful after effects of tetanus shots when I was a child I also remembered my father telling how to avoid the tetanus shot pain by immediately using the arm rather than coddling it. When my father was in the army during World War II his unit was given a tetanus shot after which they were ordered to unload a number of trucks. Rather than hurting, the lifting and carrying the boxes had the effect of his arm not hurting at all.
Remembering that we were running low on canned dog food for our dog I headed to the dog food aisle at the far end of the store after my 15 minutes of waiting was up. There I picked up the 19 pound box of cans of dog food with my left arm, in which I had had the shot, and carried it to the other end of the store where the checkout was located. After paying I used the same arm to carry the box to my car and my arm never bothered me.
Effectiveness Of The Vaccine
With 2020 being both the first year of the COVID Pandemic and an election year it was no surprise that the Pandemic became the main issue in the election.
It was obvious that the best way to combat the Coronavirus was to develop a vaccine. But vaccines have historically taken years to produce due to first the need to do the research and second, the testing and approval processes. Fortunately, earlier scientists had already done considerable research in developing vaccines for other corona type viruses which proved to be a big help in developing a vaccine for the COVID-19 type of coronavirus. The data also helped to speed up the safety testing process first on animals and then on humans to verify that the vaccine was safe.
The biggest obstacle to the development of new vaccines has historically been the slow process of FDA (Food and Drug Administration) review and approval. This agency has long been famous for dragging out the approval process for years as the FDA bureaucrats would frequently let progress reports from the drug industry sit for weeks or months until they got around to reviewing and discussing them. For COVID vaccines they were pushed to begin the review and questioning process as soon as they received the data. However, they were not pushed or pressured to overlook potential problems or forced to reach predetermined conclusions.
Other than giving priority to COVID vaccine reviews and discussions up through the safety determination stage the steps of the approval process went as normal. The biggest omission left out was the effectiveness testing phase.
A five page FACT SHEET FOR RECIPIENTS AND CAREGIVERS was given to each of us before getting the shot. In addition to safety and other things to consider before deciding to have the shot the form repeatedly stated that the shot had not been tested for effectiveness in preventing COVID-19. Instead of the usual practice of taking time to assemble a second large group of people to test and determine whether the vaccine actually protects people from being infected by the coronavirus they dispensed with this in order to get the population as a whole vaccinated as quickly as possible.
Instead of waiting another year or two while testing the effectiveness of the vaccine the FDA has allowed the vaccine to be given to the population now and then determine its effectiveness by seeing if the portion of the population who have been vaccinated has significantly fewer cases of COVID than the portion electing not to get vaccinated. In other words the entire U.S. adult population is the test group.
Because the vaccine has not yet been proven to prevent a person from becoming infected with COVID it is still a good idea to continue to take precautions like wearing a mask, washing hands frequently and thoroughly, social distancing and avoiding crowds.
Fear Of The Vaccine
Thanks to irresponsible politicians and media who have worked overtime seeking to benefit from the pandemic by spreading fear in the population with misinformation about COVID and its health threats, it is understandable that many people are afraid to be vaccinated.
In addition to COVID scare tactics there have been other bogus vaccine scares in recent decades the most famous being the study published in 1998 in the medical journal Lancet in which a British doctor and 12 co authors claimed to have found a link between the MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) vaccine and the onset of Autism in young children1. When other scientists attempted to duplicate the original study’s results they found that they were not only unable to duplicate the study’s results but also found numerous flaws in the way the study was conducted. This resulted in the Lancet eventually withdrawing the paper and the doctor who led the study having his medical license revoked.
The result of this and other vaccine scares has resulted in a number of people being more afraid of the vaccine than of COVID. In addition to fear of the vaccine a small part of the population refuses to get vaccinated due to religious or other beliefs.
1 For more information on this vaccine sandal see https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704113504575264513643960110
My Decision Was Simple
As for me, I was not concerned with the vaccine since everything I have read the vaccine has proven to be safe for most people (and I didn’t have any of the conditions or allergies listed in the handout which could cause problems). Also, in addition to having been inoculated against all or most of the serious diseases found in the United States including annual flu shots for the past 25 years or more, I also received, while in the Air Force years ago, vaccinations against practically every other disease in the world for which immunization was necessary. Thus, as far as my safety was concerned, the COVID shot posed no greater risk than the risk of a traffic accident going to and from the appointment.
In the end the decision was a simple cost/benefit calculation. Since there was no out of pocket monetary cost (the government paid for it out of my and every other American’s taxes) my cost was the minimal time and inconvenience of getting the shot. The benefit was the potential increased possibility of not being laid up for a couple weeks or more being sick with Coronavirus.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Chuck Nugent
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on April 22, 2021:
BRENDA ARLEDGE - thankyou for your comments. I have been told by others that the second COVID shot is more likely to have some minor reactions while more people. like me, seem to have little or no reaction. I'll find out when I get my second shot in a couple of weeks from now. Thanks again for your comments.
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on April 21, 2021:
Thanks for sharing.
More people may get vaccinated if they read this article.
I agree with you, we need to do this.
I've had both of mine.
I did get a nagging cough from the second one, but all is fine.
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on April 21, 2021:
MG Singh - thanks for your comments. Like I said in the article none of the vaccines have yet been proven to be effective so these people you know may be the first of many to get sick even after being vaccinated. It could also be a case in which they would have had a far worse case of COVED but got a less harsh form of the virus than if they hadn't been vaccinated. I'm sure you are like me and hoping the vaccine does prevent us from getting COVID. Take care and thanks again for your comments.
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on April 21, 2021:
Peggy - thanks for your comments. I agree with you that the more people who get immunized the sooner we will get to herd immunity which will result in the spread being noticeably reduced. I think that many of those avoiding the vaccine are waiting to be convinced that it is safe and effective before coming around and getting it with the remainder being a small pool with firm convictions against being vaccinated. And most that I have heard of or know have tended to be young and healthy so for most of them the worst that will happen is having to spend a miserable couple weeks or more suffering from COVID. Thanks again for your comments.
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on April 21, 2021:
Constant Juma - thanks for your comments. I tried to make clear that this was my experience and that doesn't guarantee that others will have the same experience as me. I am fortunate to be healthy and to have had the experience of being vaccinated numerous times with both the standard doctor recommended ones as well as, when I was in the Air Force, receiving vaccinations against a whole variety of diseases found in other parts of the world. True there could be long term side effects but historically these have been rare and limited to special situations. Also, the animals and people on which the vaccine safety tests were performed have so far not shown any long term effects and it has been almost a year since they received the vaccines. Thanks again for visiting my article and for the thoughtful points you raised.
Constant Juma on April 20, 2021:
Your personal experience is a great way to share and enlighten others on the same. Vaccines are important in as far as covid-19 is concerned, studies are still underway to determine both efficacy of the various types of Vaccines. It's not fully established yet whether there are long-term side effects or how long these vaccines can remain effective. Furthermore, experience of one person may not be the same for another since our system are not the same. We only hope for the best.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 20, 2021:
We need more people like you to help our population gain herd immunity. It is actually a public service you are doing so by being vaccinated.
My husband and I had hardly any effects from both of our vaccinations. Mine was Pfizer, and he had Moderna.
For those who have side effects, it is better than getting Covid-19,
MG Singh from UAE on April 20, 2021:
I have also taken both the shots but I would like to point out that I know of many people here in the UAE who have taken both the doses and have still contracted the virus.