COVID-19 vaccinations are beginning to be administered across the region. Physicians and students who have received the vaccine report just mild soreness.
Medical Professional reflection
“I had a sore arm for about 30 hours after the first shot and about 15 hours after the second,” Dr. Anna Filip said in an e-mail interview. “I also had a mild headache the day after the first shot.”
Filip is one of the many essential workers who received both doses of the vaccine. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and had done research before receiving the vaccine in her second trimester of her pregnancy.
She said that both the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorse pregnant women who are getting the vaccine and advocate for the CDC/pharmaceutical companies to include pregnant women in future vaccines trials and studies. ACOG discussed vaccinating pregnant women and lactating patients against COVID-19 describing pregnancy as an increased risk factor for coronavirus. MFM disclosed the urge to include pregnant women in trials and studies for future vaccines.
“My expectations are that the vaccine will be one tool we can use to help end the pandemic,” Filip said. “The other tools are to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing and hand washing.” She added that if you have been vaccinated or around people who are vaccinated, this is not a reason to stop doing the above. The CDC says getting vaccinated will help you and the others around you. It’s still important to wear masks and social distance to help reduce the chance of being exposed or spreading the virus, but these are not enough. If you are able to get the vaccine, get it.
As a professional, it will help her protect her patients from the virus and advocate the experience. “I want to be a part of the science that helps to give others the reassurance that getting the vaccine is definitely safer than getting the virus,” Filip said. By being vaccinated, she protects her family and community helping move toward herd immunity, which is needed to end this pandemic.
“Being vaccinated also protects my family and my pregnancy,” Filip said. “Being vaccinated protects my community and helps move towards herd immunity that is needed to end the pandemic.”
Dr. Danielle M. DeHoratius, a dermatologist at Bryn Mawr Medical Specialist, mentioned the term, “COVID arm.” This is when the sight of injection appears red and hot, which is mistaken as an infection called cellulitis. Patients are advised to take Zyrtec if this happens and receive the second shot in the other arm.
“People wait for 15 minutes, but those who have a history of allergic reactions to vaccines then wait for 30 minutes,” DeHoratius said. “Most who had a reaction would develop it in the first 20 minutes of receiving the vaccine.”
She noted that with every vaccination site there are EpiPens which would stop this reaction or in some rare cases, anaphylactic shock. For those who have a sensitive arm or feel they will be extremely sore, they are advised not to take any pain relievers before receiving the vaccine. DeHoratius and USA Today say taking ibuprofen or Tylenol prior to the shot could alter the immune response.
Cabrini student reflection
Ellen Ford, junior biology major, works at the Wegmans pharmacy in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Being surrounded by the pharmaceutical industry, she heard a lot about the vaccine from the other pharmacists. Ford chose to get the vaccine because she didn’t want to get COVID-19 and didn’t want to risk transmitting it to anyone she knew.
“[The] only bad experiences I’ve heard about were people having allergic reactions,” Ford said. “But no one I know has had one and the chances of that seem pretty low.”
After receiving the vaccine she warns that the aftermath leads to arm soreness, but nothing drastic. Ford said she will inform and encourage others about the vaccine and hopes this will slow the spread, hopefully saving lives.
Rue Kennedy, junior early and special education major, is an essential worker who works with adults who have disabilities. She chose to be vaccinated due to her mother being high risk. Her family doesn’t feel safe going back to “normal” until her mother is able to be vaccinated.
Kennedy thought she would feel very sick after getting the first dose. “I was pleasantly surprised because I only had a regular cold that only lasted for a day,” Kennedy said. “I was tired and my arms hurt a lot.” She compared it to the tetanus shot mentioning the COVID-19 vaccine didn’t hurt as much. The CDC says to place a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area and move your arm to help with pain and/or discomfort.
She mentioned the only false information she heard was the vaccine uses fetus cells and causes autism which she already knew was false. The Conversation talked about false information spreading which is posing serious risks for the public health and communities.