As Missouri begins its Phase 1 distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, healthcare workers are at the top of the list.
Krupa Patel, a respiratory therapist at the KU Medical Center, received both doses required for the Pfizer vaccine said the worst part was the arm pain in the injection site following the second dose.
Patel said she also experienced about 72-hours of the flu-like symptoms, including nausea, body aches, fever and chills, as well as arm pain at the injection site.
“I usually never take medicine for my pain; but I felt the need to this time,” Patel said.
According to experts, symptoms experienced after receiving the vaccine can indicate that it is working to develop the immune system.
Despite her negative reaction to the vaccine, Patel advocates for others to get vaccinated when it becomes widely available to not only protect themselves, but also those they come in contact with.
“These vaccines have been tested and they have gone through so many loops before they became available,” Patel said. “I also feel in order to return to normal, getting a majority of the population vaccinated is necessary to resume the lives we once had.”
Kenzie Snow, a respiratory therapist at Children’s Mercy Hospital, said she was afraid at first to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Now, after receiving both doses, she feels relief from the stress she faced daily due to COVID-19.
“Now that I’m fully vaccinated, I can say it was totally worth it,” Snow said. “I no longer have the anxiety of contracting COVID from work, or spreading to my other patients, or friends and family.”
Snow said she believes people, especially those at higher risk, should get the vaccine when it becomes available to them. However, she also supports people who choose not to receive the vaccine due to pregnancy or other medical reasons.
Linda Vu, another respiratory therapist at Children’s Mercy Hospital, said the first dose only caused her some fatigue and arm soreness at the injection site. After sleeping that day, the fatigue had resolved itself.
For the second dose, Vu prepared by heading straight home to relax after receiving the injection. The only symptom she experienced following this dose was feeling feverish.
“I just turned on my humidifier that had some essential oils running through,” said Vu. “After about an hour, I didn’t experience any more symptoms and I didn’t feel feverish anymore.”
Vu said it may be intimidating to get vaccines, but doing some research on how the vaccine affects your body can ease the fear.
“If we want to go back to how things were before, we need to start building herd immunity for the community, and vaccines can do that,” said Vu. “The world has gone through other pandemics and we’ll get through this one with this.”