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COVID-19 Vaccine Experiences from People with Chronic Conditions

COVID-19 Vaccine Experiences from People with Chronic Conditions

First of all, I want to thank everyone who contributed their COVID-19 vaccine experiences to this roundup. Yes, there are already many COVID-19 vaccine experiences being shared out there. But the data for those with chronic conditions is still quite sparse.

In this collaborative roundup, you will see a mix of responses in regards to taking the COVID-19 vaccine. Some people with chronic conditions experienced terrible side effects, whilst others were perfectly fine. Their backgrounds, where they come from, coping strategies and feelings all differ, too.

*P.s. Click here if you’d like to share your COVID-19 vaccine experiences, too!

Updates:

  • 06 September 2021: Entry 43 added.
  • 29 August 2021: Entry 42 added.
  • 27 August 2021: Entries 39 – 41 added.
  • 24 August 2021:  Entries 34 – 38 added.
  • 22 August 2021: Entry 33 added.
  • 21 August 2021: Entries 10 & 13 updated. Entries 28 – 32 added.
Pin to Your COVID-19 Vaccine Experiences Boards: COVID-19 Vaccine - A Roundup of Experiences from People with Chronic Conditions

The Conundrum of the COVID-19 Vaccine for Those with Chronic Conditions

Reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine can be rather diverse even for healthy people. So what more about those with chronic conditions?

Chronic conditions are so varied, individual and each patient’s mix of co-morbidities make it even more confusing. How does one define a fixed set of possible side effects that this group of people might experience?

Autoimmune disorder and chronic illness patients are understandably worried. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a catch-22 situation for many of them.

The COVID-19 virus will likely prove deadly for them as their immune systems are compromised. Yet many of them are unable to take the vaccine for an assortment of reasons that are no fault of theirs.

The additional barriers from the lockdown make access to medical care, or even getting to a vaccination site, that much more troublesome, too.

Chronic pain is indescribable and torturous. Will the COVID-19 vaccine trigger an allergic reaction or pain flare? Will it make them feel worse than they already do on a daily basis?

These fears are not unfounded. It is important to provide awareness, education, support and resources. Knowledge is power as they say, and in this case, may help to provide a sense of comfort and confidence.

Pin to Your COVID-19 Vaccine & Chronic Conditions Boards: The Conundrum of the COVID-19 Vaccine for Those with Chronic Conditions

What This Roundup is and is Not About

Whilst I have my own thoughts about the COVID-19 vaccine, this post is meant for educational and awareness purposes. I do not wish for it to be inflammatory and hope to keep the tone as neutral as is possible.

It is solely a collection of experiences shared, from those who have chosen to get vaccinated. I hope it shows others with chronic conditions that they are not alone. Your fears, worries and concerns are all valid.

It also seeks to share coping and pain management strategies for possible side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine. Especially from the perspectives of others with chronic conditions who share the same fears and concerns.

Finally, I hope that this collaboration will be a repository of patient experiences that grows with time. I hope that this data will be useful not only to others with chronic conditions who are weighing up the pros and cons of taking the COVID-19 vaccine. But also to caregivers, friends and family who are concerned, and also to healthcare staff.

Pin to Your Chronic Illness & COVID-19 Vaccine Boards: 27 Chronically Ill People Share Their Experiences Taking the COVID-19 Vaccine

The 'Hotline' is Still Open, So Come Share Your COVID-19 Vaccine Experiences, Too!

I have decided to keep the form open for submissions, as the more perspectives we can gather and learn from, the better.

If you are someone with chronic conditions, come share your experiences to educate, support and feel less alone. You may choose to remain anonymous for whatever the reason may be.

You might be bored of hearing me say this by now, but… every voice counts!

*Disclaimer: The article is based on each individual’s own experiences, and nothing should be taken as medical advice. Always be sure to check with your doctor before you start on any new treatment or protocol. This post may contain affiliate links, which cost nothing for you to click on them. It will earn me a small referral fee, which goes towards the maintenance of this blog. Thank you!

Pin to Your Chronic Illness & COVID-19 Vaccination Boards: Do You Live with Chronic Illness & Have You Been Vaccinated? Share Your Experiences Here!

My COVID-19 Vaccine Experiences as a Person with Chronic Conditions:

London, UK

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

That I would have an allergic reaction due to having mast cell activation syndrome.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I have been ‘shielding’ (UK initiative to help protect those who are clinically extremely vulnerable) at home for a year, with only a few trips out. I needed my life back to some extent and to at least feel safe going to necessary medical appointments.

I also took it to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to hopefully contribute to ending the pandemic, or at least having it under control.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Astra Zeneca.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

It felt very positive. The procedure was very quick and simple, and done in a professional way.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

I got chills for around 16 hours, as well as increased headache and fatigue for about four days afterwards. My arm was a bit sore for around five days.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I was very easy on myself. Slept or hung out on the sofa, didn’t work and just ate nice food, drank lots of water and watched TV.

Be kind to yourself, try and clear your schedule for a few days if you can, have some food ready in the fridge or freezer, and make sure your comfiest clothes are washed and ready to be worn!

For more tips, read: How to feel comfortable at home after the Covid Vaccination

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I feel more reassured when I go to medical appointments or out for walks. I’m not ready to go in shops or elsewhere yet, but I hope to when I’ve had the second dose. I am very happy to have had it, and was fortunate to have it relatively early.

2. Kirsty

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

The potential reaction to the vaccine, and how it would affect my autoimmune diseases, Fibromyalgia and CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome).

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I did want to be vaccinated to protect myself, as I have asthma and autoimmune disease. I also wanted to protect my family.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Astra Zeneca.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

Awful. I went to get the get the Pfizer vaccination and I was told no, I had to have Astra Zeneca.

I was bullied into having the vaccination. I was berated in front of a long line of public that were waiting for the injection.

Two doctors and a nurse surrounded me, and told me that I should get the COVID-19 vaccine. They asked, “Do I want things to return to normal? Do I want to be able see family and friends, and help other people see their friends and family?”

It was a horrible experience for me.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

I was bedridden for a week with diarrhoea, fever and a swollen arm. I also had extreme fatigue, wide spread pain, headaches, light sensitivity, flu-like symptoms and it was difficult to move the arm that was injected into.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I tried to get as much rest and drank as much fluids as I could, and took paracetamol four times a day. I kept a damp cloth on my forehead and a heat patch on my arm.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Disappointed, now that it’s come out that Astra Zeneca shouldn’t be given to those 30 and below. I’m 30 and am afraid to get my second dose. I’m not sure I will be going for it.

Do You Have Any Other Comments?

I think that it’s important for people to be vaccinated, but I wish that we had more time for testing to see the long-term side effects.

Texas, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

The side effects that I might experience.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I knew that my body wouldn’t deal well with a COVID-19 infection. And because I have children in school whom I couldn’t quarantine as well as I’d like to.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

I had a quick and easy experience getting my vaccine. It was a drive through so I didn’t even need to get out of the car.

Once they gave me the shot, I pulled over and waited for 15 minutes to make sure there was no reaction. I didn’t have any problems, so the whole thing took about 25 minutes all in.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

With the first shot, my arm was really sore for a couple days. I had some muscle pain, but I didn’t know if that was just my normal pain or caused by the vaccine.

It felt like getting a flu shot over all. The second shot went even better as I didn’t have any side effects.

It was weird in that my first dose was worse then my second, as most people experience the opposite.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I had muscle pain the first night, so I took an Epsom salt bath and used my heating pad.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Relieved. I’m still being really careful, but I’m not as anxious about what would happen if I got sick from the COVID-19 virus.
Pin to Your COVID-19 Vaccine & Chronic Illness Boards: Biggest Fears of Taking the COVID-19 Vaccine From People with Chronic Illnesses

Norwich, UK

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

An immediate serious allergic reaction.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

Because the alternative – catching  the COVID-19 virus – is much worse than the potential side effects of the vaccine.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Astra Zeneca.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

It was over quickly; I had the vaccination at home.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

Yes, I reacted quite severely; light-headed, nauseous, wiped-out, achy, weak, drowsy, dizzy, hungover, painful restless legs, muscle cramps, headache, runny nose, sore throat, shivers, fever, ‘poisoned feeling’, and the injection site was very sore.

I have written a blog post about my experiences, which you can read here:  How My ME/CFS Body Reacted to the Covid-19 Vaccine.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

Painkillers, hot water bottle and antihistamines.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

The days following the jab weren’t pleasant. It’s certainly not something I would choose to go through.

Do I think it was worth it? Absolutely! The alternative would be a lot worse. I don’t think I would survive if I contracted COVID-19.

London, UK

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

An adverse reaction, as I had been very ill after a flu jab in the past.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

For the greater good, the bigger picture. This isn’t just about me.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Astra Zeneca.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

Excellent, very well organised, easy to book and informative throughout the procedure.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

I was shivery the night after, tired for a couple of days and had a sore arm for about 10 days.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I just wrapped myself up and kept warm in bed for the shivers, relaxed for the tiredness and didn’t worry about the arm pain.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Fine, no problems at all.

Oklahoma, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

I didn’t have any fears about taking a vaccination.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I wanted to protect myself and others around me the best way I could.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

I was incredibly anxious. As a healthcare worker, I was qualified to receive the COVID-19 vaccine earlier than others during its rollout in my state.  Yet, I was terrified that I would be turned away.

It was a relatively quick process. I didn’t even feel the needle insertion during the first dose, and for the second dose, I felt the needle but it was not painful at all. Both doses were relatively the same for me, although they were at different locations.

Both times I was overcome with emotion and became teary eyed with elation and gratitude for receiving the vaccine.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

I had a sore arm for a few hours with each dose.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I moved my arm a lot to help reduce the soreness faster.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I am extremely grateful for the scientists who worked tirelessly to create the COVID-19 vaccine. I am grateful that I qualified to receive it early on in its rollout in my state.

I feel safer with the vaccination, and am proud to do what I can to help protect not only myself but also my community.

Pin to Your COVID-19 Vaccine & Chronic Conditions Boards: Why These People Chose to Take the COVID-19 Vaccine Despite Chronic Illness

California, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

I was terrified I would get sick, since my pulmonologists all said that I could die from COVID-19 due to my rare lung disease.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I wanted to live. If I didn’t have the COVID-19 vaccine I would be worried that I would catch it and die due to my pulmonary alveolar proteinosis. I had not been out in a year except to visit the doctor.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

It was very easy and simple.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

No side effects except for a mild headache. But that could have just been from my Fibromyalgia, too.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I took a some Ibuprofen before the shot and that seemed to help.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Free. I have been able to visit the grocery store and a couple other shops since getting the COVID-19 vaccine. I am even planning a vacation this summer.

From Trinidad and Tobago, but lives in London, UK

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

As a person from an ethnic minority, I struggled with listening to the science versus the ethnic communities’ worries.

There were lots of myths and misconceptions intermingled with people’s worries that were perpetuated online, about using ethnic groups for testing and experimentation. A history of medical negligence and abuse towards certain ethnic minority groups is hard to ignore.

But I also had to weigh that against the fact that we’re in a global pandemic, and that my chronic health problems make me more vulnerable. The fact that I might be more exposed to picking up the COVID-19 virus at work made me genuinely scared.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I was offered the COVID-19 vaccine through work. By then, I had talked it through with many people, including friends from minority ethnic groups who shared similar worries.

I carried out more research, and joined some seminars at work that addressed some of these concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine.

I decided that even though I wasn’t sure if it felt like the right thing to do, that I would get vaccinated anyway.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

It was pretty smooth! I was offered the vaccine through work. I received a text message offering me an option for appointments and I booked it online. I went to the hospital and the system was very fluid.

After I had the vaccine, I went to a room to rest for 15 minutes so I could be monitored. Once I felt fine, I was able to go home. It was the same for my second vaccine dose.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

After the first dose, I experienced some feverish chills and nausea about an hour after the shot. But I would mostly describe it as a general feeling of unwellness.

I went back to working from home and had this moment of ‘ahh I feel a bit weird, maybe unwell?’ but I couldn’t quite pinpoint what was wrong. I had some food then went to bed and I slept like a baby! The next morning I was fine.

After the second dose, I didn’t experience side effects until a day later. These lasted for about three days, and I felt more fatigued, unable to concentrate and needed to rest constantly.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

Don’t be a hero! Just rest, rest, rest! Listen to your body and from my experience, it told me to rest; Once I did that and stayed hydrated, I was fine.

I live alone and didn’t have energy to cook on those days, so pre-plan and prepare your meals before you get the vaccine. It was really helpful to have soup after my first vaccine; it was warm and nourishing, and I kept water nearby all the time.

In hindsight I should have booked some time off work, but thankfully my employers were understanding.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Having gone through the worries, stress and sharing this with friends, I think that getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a personal choice.

I’d really urge people not to feel pressured into deciding based on what their families and communities say and choose to do.

Do your own research. And by research I mean from various reputable sources, not WhatsApp videos or personal commentaries. Weigh up the options and decide what is best for you.

USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Feeling sick afterwards.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I have both an immune deficiency and asthma/chronic bronchitis.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

I had to drive about 50 minutes to get to the vaccination site. The people doing the clinic were very organized and helpful. They answered all my questions and had chairs and tables spaced far apart.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

With my first dose I had a sore arm for about 24 hours.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I was given a small cold pack to put into the freezer that I could use for pain relief at the injection site. It helped quite a bit. I didn’t need to take any pain medication.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I feel relieved, because I’ve been on a waiting list since early February.

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England, United Kingdom

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

I am not sure I had any to be honest. I treated it like the flu vaccine that I take every year.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

To protect others and myself. I don’t see it as a magic bullet, however it does make me feel a little safer should I contract the COVID-19 virus in the future.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

Very smooth and well organised. I had the Pfizer so had to wait 15 minutes after the vaccination, but I was fine.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

Not with the first vaccine. However for the second shot I was in bed with flu-like symptoms for four days, with headache, dizziness, sickness and all my limbs ached.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I tried to sleep them off.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Even though I has side effects I wouldn’t hesitate to have a third vaccination when it is offered.

Georgia, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

An allergic reaction. I live with Bell’s Palsy, Trigeminal Neuralgia, and Occipital Neuralgia.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I don’t want to catch the COVID-19 virus.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

It was close to my home, fast and easy.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I had to rest, rest my eyes, cool compress the right side of my head, and wait patiently for it to pass.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I am happy to see people again!
UK / Netherlands

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

I was really scared that the COVID-19 vaccine would trigger another relapse in my ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis).

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I chose to take the vaccine because ultimately the benefits outweigh the risks. The risk of COVID-19 is far higher for me than the risk of the vaccine.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Astra Zeneca.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

The procedure was quick and painless.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

I had some not very pleasant side effects. I was unable to sit upright for about a week – it really set my POTs (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) symptoms off.

Alongside that I had alternating chills and a fever that lasted a few days.

Over all I just felt very ill. But it felt like a constructive ill because I knew it meant that my immune system is working properly!

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I drank lots of rehydration salts to try and minimise the tachychardia and POTs symptoms. I had also already planned so that I had nothing to do except be sick that week!

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I definitely feel a lot less anxious about going to the physiotherapist, but will remain in shielding until I have had my second vaccine. It does feel like there is a beginning to the end now!

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New Jersey, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Not being able to get vaccinated.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

To protect myself from getting COVID-19.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

It was run by the military in a mega site, and was relatively fast and efficient. I was happy to see that they took care to improve accessibility.

My nurse was kind and efficient, and everybody was respectful in regards to my FND (Functional Neurological Disorder) symptoms.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

For the first shot, the arm pain is more severe than what I have experienced with any other vaccine in the past.

My second shot went smoothly. I was extra tired, but otherwise no adverse reaction.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

Letting myself rest with minimal expectations of myself, and drinking plenty of water.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

More hopeful. After my second shot, I am going to be able to go out in the world feeling that much safer. Since being vaccinated, I have felt much freer, and have spent time with other vaccinated friends.

UK

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

That the vaccination would cause as big a crash as the virus itself.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

Anecdotal evidence was showing that the unpleasant effects on people with ME weren’t lasting more that a few days for most people.

Also I’d had a nasty virus the year before that had caused a huge relapse, and I feared that that kind of relapse was far more likely if I caught COVID-19.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

The healthcare staff were kind,  it was well set up and efficient.

It was a big centre and very noisy. I asked if I could wait out my 15 minutes post vaccine somewhere quiet because of the ME, and they found me somewhere quiet for my wait.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

My symptoms were mild with a sore arm, aches and pains, and extra fatigue that only lasted for three days.

Read more on my blog: My COVID Vaccine Experience.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I was careful to rest even more that usual and took extra antioxidant supplements. My symptoms also eased a little with my daily anti-inflammatory medications that I take for another issue.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

More confident that once I’ve had the second shot of the vaccine, it’ll be safer to spend time around people again.

UK

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Slightly concerned about how severe any side effects might be, as I had COVID-19 last year and was pretty ill. All my chronic illness symptoms have been worse ever since.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

To protect myself and those around me from the virus – to help to start to move life back towards normality.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

Excellent – well organised, felt very safe, no waiting, well spaced cubicles and seating areas, friendly and helpful staff.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

A sore arm, headache, achy limbs and very tired.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

Regular paracetamol and plenty of fluids. Plus a good supply of TV recordings and Netflix films.

I ensured that I had a free couple of days so as not to put any pressure on myself. I did sleep for long periods!

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Glad to have had it. Am happy to have played my part in moving towards controlling this disease, and also to be able to help protect my friends and family.

Pin to Your COVID-19 Vaccine Coping Strategies & Chronic Pain Boards: Coping Strategies for COVID-19 Side Effects From people with Chronic Illnesses

Essex, UK

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Not being vaccinated within the priority groups because of my health conditions.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

To protect myself, my husband, my family and wider community. It’s a team effort.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Astra Zeneca.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

I was vaccinated at home. It was straightforward and took only a few minutes.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

Yes. I was wiped out. Had extreme nausea, was off balance, fever and increased fatigue levels.

I have written a piece on my blog about my vaccination experience here: Covid19 Vaccination – My Experience

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I rested, laid horizontally, hydrated, ate bland foods and boiled sweets and took medication to relieve fever symptoms.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Happy. I will be glad to receive the second dose. Although I do hope that the side effects will be less intrusive.

South Wales, UK

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

The side effects of the vaccination making my condition and symptoms worse.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I like to think I have a strong sense of civic duty, and wanted to keep myself and those I love safe from the potential devastating effects that COVID-19 can have.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Astra Zeneca.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

It was great; the vaccination and potential side effects were all fully explained, the practitioner throughly went through the checklist to make sure I was eligible and safe to take up the  COVID-19 vaccine.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

Yes, I really suffered for several days afterwards. The pain and stiffness that I constantly grapple with intensified a few hours after having the vaccine, and I found it extremely difficult to walk up the stairs in the night.

That night I also experienced violent shivering after suddenly feeling extremely cold, and generally felt like I was coming down with the flu.

I also had a very sore arm, which hurt and felt very uncomfortable when moving it for quite a few days afterward.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I coped by resting and taking things easy for those few days I felt very bad.

I wore my favourite comfortable loungewear and allowed myself time to indulge in TV and films. Relaxing activities that I found soothing, and that helped to replenish my energy and soul.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

As much as I am not looking forward to getting the second dose, I am relieved to have had the first of the vaccination done.

I am feeling a little more protected from the virus, especially after losing a much loved member of my family.

I also feel good for doing something productive to help protect others from this virus that has upended everyone’s lives.

18. Katie

Michigan, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Feeling sick and miserable after.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

To protect myself and others from getting COVID-19.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Moderna.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

It was quick and easy. I just had to wait for 15 minutes before I could leave.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

The only effect I experienced was a mild sore arm. I have only had my first shot though.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I will be fully vaccinated after my second dose, but I already feel hopeful. I do feel a little nervous about it as some people have said that it was the second one that made them feel sick. Then again, there were others who said they had no bad side effects.
Pin to Your Health Boards: Post-Vaccine Thoughts & Feelings From People with Chronic Illnesses

19. Angela Weldon

Scotland, UK

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Passing the COVID-19 virus to my elderly parents.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

For normality.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Astra Zeneca.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

Straightforward. I went to the vaccination centre, waited in a small queue and it was all done quickly.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

A splitting sore head and sore arm.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

Painkillers and rest. I learned to take painkillers the nights before and after the vaccination.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I’ve only had my first dose, so still unsure as I’m not fully protected. Am currently isolating after each contact.

20. Jo

California, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Side effects.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

Because getting COVID-19 would be worse.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

The hardest part was finding an appointment for the vaccination.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

Fatigue, an increased pulse rate, low grade fever, body aches and arm redness that was not at the injection site.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I just rested. Nothing alarming or serious. The next day I was better.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Relieved. I will probably still wear my mask and wash my hands more thoroughly, but I’m not as paranoid.

21. Lenore

New York, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Getting COVID-19 from the gross public.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

Because I work with the gross public.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Moderna.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

The signup was awful; ended up with work arranging it. But I was very impressed at how the actual vaccination site was set up, and how happy everyone seemed.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

Yes, for the first shot my arm ached and was tired.

For the second shot my immune system was clearly aware of the first dose and was still pissed off about it.

I was extremely tired and it triggered an acute flare of my PsA (Psoriatic Arthritis), which involves basically all my joints. The acute phase lasted a couple days and I missed a day of work.

A few joints are still aching after a month. But I’m not sure if it’s residual from the shot or from background disease activity. Still better than having COVID-19! 🙂

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

Rest, drink lots of water and take painkillers. Having a sense of humor helped.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Relieved. We are incredibly lucky to live in a time where science and medicine were able to create vaccines to cope in such a short timeframe.

mRNA vaccines have been worked on for years, including for Sars-CoV-1 and was able to be adapted for use on the Sars-CoV-2 virus.

It is an amazing accomplishment, and something that is unheard of in human history.

Pin to Your Chronic Illness & Vaccination Side Effects Management Boards: Best Tips for Coping with COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects From People with Chronic Illnesses

22. Anonymous

USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Possible allergic or other reaction post-vaccine.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

The variants are escalating.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Johnson & Johnson.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

I had anxiety due to having PG (propylene glycol) allergy, but my pharmacist scheduled me for a time when multiple professionals would be on site with no other patients.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

I had a sore arm that morning and the following night, for about 2 hours each time. Nothing else.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Still on a rollercoaster due to learning the possibilities of later side effects like the blood clots, because I was in that window and age group during the pause.

Boston, MA, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Allergies or autoimmune flares. New autoimmune processes.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

Ultimately, it was less scary than potentially getting COVID-19. Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s breakdown of research helped me feel a lot better.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Moderna.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

Way better than anticipated.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

I had a very sore arm for 2 – 3 days, and a day of fatigue as well. For both shots!

My autoimmune symptoms that were not well managed before also flared up. But not outrageously compared to my baseline.

Each shot experience felt remarkably similar for me.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I pre-planned by going back to an elimination phase AIP diet, the month prior to and during the vaccination. Avoided everything that I knew could otherwise cause me to flare up.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Deeply relieved that I didn’t have a bad reaction, and less scared of going to work or seeing my friends.

24. Emily Laster

Kentucky, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

That I’d lose my sense of smell and taste.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

Because I’m a Type 2 Diabetic and I knew that this would help me immensely. I live with chronic pain through Neuropathy, and it seriously sucks.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Moderna.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

Very comfortable, hardly felt the needle.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

Just a sore arm for a few days.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Safe. Very safe. I’ve had both shots, and I’m good to go, but I’m still wearing a mask.

Pin to Your COVID-19 Vaccine Experiences & Chronic Conditions Boards: COVID-19 Vaccine Experiences from People with Chronic Conditions

25. Harpriya Singh

Ontario, Canada

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

I am a patient fighting with active Ulcerative Colitis. I feared that the COVID-19 vaccine might aggravate my already goofed up immune system and give me a bad flare up.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I chose it to protect myself, my family and my community from the virus. I have to do my part as an individual, and we all must get vaccinated whenever it’s our turn and beat this pandemic!

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

It went very smooth. I got the vaccine at Trillium, Ontario. It was really well organised.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

I just experienced a sore arm for a day and a low grade fever which settled with a Tylenol. Thankfully, it didn’t add to my Colitis flare.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

Apply an ice pack for the sore arm and pop a Tylenol for the fever.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I feel more protected!

Colorado, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Getting a pain flare post vaccine that I would not be able to treat at home.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I am high risk and have been told by two doctors that getting COVID-19 would kill me. A vaccine is immensely more tolerable than death.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

Our local hospital had a great set up. Those of us with mobility aids and high risk statuses were separated from the able-bodied people who were also getting vaccinated.

The shot was painless. I had one issue with a nurse trying to rush my 30 minute wait after my second dose.

I think I was the last person and she wanted to go home, but she was extremely rude when I told her that I was not a 15 minute wait person due to MCAS.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

Yes. Fever, body aches, dizziness, extreme fatigue, and my arm hurt so much that having bed sheets or a shirt sleeve brush against it was excruciating.

My first and second dose had the same symptoms, but my second dose was significantly worse in all aspects. More pain, higher fever, more fatigue, and it lasted longer.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

Tylenol. I also called my pain management office and told them exactly what was happening.

I had tried to get a remedy for inevitable breakthrough pain less than a week before my second dose and they ignored me. Instead of helping they gaslit me and told me the pain wasn’t real.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Okay but not great, because my high risk kids can’t get vaccinated yet.

Singapore

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

A severe, delayed reaction when I wasn’t at the hospital anymore.

In Singapore those who have had anaphylaxis or even food allergies were one of the last on the list to be allowed the COVID-19 vaccine.

I’ve had anaphylaxis before from Rituximab, a biologic drug for Lupus, also only after my second dose. The first dose was fine and dandy as it was still ‘new’ to my body. My doctor said there was a small possibility it might happen with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

To protect myself and those around me, if that’s possible.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

Efficient and easy. My doctor booked me a slot at the hospital to take the COVID-19 vaccine, which is reserved for all high risk patients. There is a doctor there on standby and the A&E is in the same building.

I was amused by the countdown timer as it was a kitchen timer. 30 minutes went by quickly and I could leave after.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

Surprisingly, none. I felt perfectly fine after the first dose.

For the second dose, I had some soreness in my arm five days after the shot, but nothing that interrupted my day too badly.

I think it’s also because I’m on a mid-level dosage of prednisone (steroids), which helps to control my Lupus and Sjögren’s Syndrome activity.

The prednisone probably suppressed the vaccine’s side effects, which is both good and bad. Good being no miserable side effects. Bad being I’m not sure if the COVID-19 vaccine is as effective on me as compared to others.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I asked my doctor for an epipen just in case I had a delayed allergic reaction. Having that on standby made me feel safer. Who knew that an epipen was so expensive though; it costed me about USD120.

Also, some of my friends were taking antihistamines and paracetamol before their vaccination. I avoided those on purpose so that I could tell immediately if something wasn’t quite right.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Singapore has relatively good contact tracing and public healthcare measures in place. Because of that, I have never had to worry too much about catching the COVID-19 virus. Although we must still be cautious and not complacent, and we need to all play our part in society if we want things to slowly return to normality.

I still get nervous if I happen to have been close to a new cluster, as announced in the newspapers daily. But I do feel slightly safer now with the COVID-19 vaccine.

I also feel fortunate to be in Singapore, compared to many other countries where people are either unable to access good healthcare or vaccines. Or where the general public refuses to cooperate in a bid to rid us all of this pandemic.

Pin to Your Chronic Illness & COVID-19 Vaccine Experiences Boards: What's It Like to Take the COVID-19 Vaccine with Chronic Illness?

Taipei, Taiwan (Originally from Canada)

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

An allergic reaction due to MCAS and my allergy history with over 200+ allergies on file.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

To keep myself and others around me as safe as possible.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Astra Zeneca.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

Quick and easy. I signed up online and went to a nearby hospital parking lot to get my first jab. They even had info pamphlets in English which was very surprising to me!

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

Yes. I reacted like I do with all vaccines and shots. I got a migraine, chills, fever, and a lot of widespread pain on top of what I normally experience. It amped up my fibromyalgia symptoms just as I expected.

I was extra miserable for around four days after it. My arm was still sore after two weeks and that is the first time that has happened with a vaccine.

I got my flu shot and pneumococcal shots in January as preventative measures and my recovery time was 24 – 48 hours with those jabs.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

Rest is best! Don’t push through it. Drink lots and lots of water.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Grateful and relieved. Anxious, but looking forward to get my second shot! (I’ll keep doing this until we beat this thing.)

Michigan, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

I was worried about how sick I would become and for how long. I was especially worried about the talk of long-term exhaustion.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I decided it was my duty to protect my family and community. Also, I felt that dying from COVID-19 was way worse than months of side-effects from the vaccine.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

First, we went on a waiting list. My husband was called first for an appointment, but he mentioned me and the fact I have FM (fibromyalgia), and they let us both sign up.

We went into a big auditorium and waited in our car until we got a text to come in. It was very well organized. We had to sign in on a computer and then were ushered to a medical professional for the shot.

We were given the option of which arm to be injected. It was quick and painless. Then they filled out our card. We had to sit in spaced out chairs for 15 minutes before going back to our car. We were in and out within 30 minutes.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

Very sore arm from shoulder to elbow, and very tired for a few days.

I take Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) which is known to boost my immune system. I’m not sure if that’s one reason I didn’t have serious side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I prepared ahead of time to be very ill. No plans for a few days, just rested. We had food ready to go.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I felt very free; almost like superwoman (until Delta variant arrived).

Now, I’m worried again, especially for my unvaccinated 6-year old granddaughter in that I could carry it and pass it on to her and not even know it. I’m ready for my booster shot!

The Netherlands

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Getting an allergic reaction and possible side effects.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I’m at risk due to my asthma, and I wanted to contribute to help the group immunity as the lockdowns are so harmful for our mental health.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

I was super anxious, but everyone was so nice. A doctor took me to a separate room to give me my shot, and she stayed with me for over an hour because I had a panic attack.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

After my first shot I was bedridden for five days; I just felt so extremely tired and dizzy. I didn’t quite feel like myself until after the second shot, which I didn’t get any reactions from.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I listened to my body. It needed rest, so I gave in to that, and lots of fluids.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Safer, although I’m not looking forward to a possible third shot.
Pin to Your Chronic Illness & COVID-19 Vaccine Experiences Boards: Chronically Ill & Vaccinated - Read About Their Experiences

Scotland, UK

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

I had read that some people get side effects, so I was a little concerned about that, but not concerned enough to put me off getting it.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I wanted to protect myself and those around me as much as possible.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Astra Zeneca.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

It was straightforward. I received my appointment and went to the local sports centre to get vaccinated.

I was worried in case there were long queues because I struggle to stand for long periods. But when I was there, it wasn’t busy.

A few weeks later, I had my second dose and had the same experience.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

The morning after I received my first vaccination, I woke with a bit more pain than normal. At first, I thought it was just a bad pain day, but as the day went on, I started to have flu-like symptoms and felt quite shivery.

The following day, I was fine. After my second vaccination, I had no side effects at all.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I went to bed with a hot water bottle.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I just have all my usual pain now. I’m relieved that I, and my family, have been vaccinated.

Connecticut, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

How I would react from the shot.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

To protect myself from being hospitalized, and to keep from getting long haulers (long-term side effects from the COVID-19 virus).

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Moderna.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

I had a good experience with one hiccup that wasn’t a big deal.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

After my first COVID-19 vaccine shot, I had a sore arm. It became swollen only on day 11.

After my second shot, I had a sore arm for a day or two. I also had a small fever from days 1 – 8, with the highest point at 102.3°F (39°C).

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

Okay, so for the first shot, I talked to my doctor because of the swelling. It wasn’t a big deal as he prescribed prednisone and Benadryl.

For the second shot, I took Tylenol the day after for the fever. To be safe, I took Benadryl around day 8 or 9 for a week or so, and had no swelling at all.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I feel great. I feel safe and secure. I will be getting the booster around December. Please if you can get the COVID-19 vaccine, it gives you peace of mind.

Norfolk, England, UK

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Catching COVID-19. As someone with extremely weak muscles, therefore not having the strength to cough, and already using a non-invasive ventilator at night, I was terrified of how COVID would affect me, and if/what treatment I would be given if I ended up in hospital.

I was admitted in early 2020 with flu, and this was a big enough struggle. The no visitors would be hard too, because I rely on people that know me and my condition to assist me. The hospital is not equipped or staffed well enough to care for me safely.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

Because I wanted the extra layer or protection for myself and those around me. I don’t see any other way of fighting this.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

It was well organised, quick and painless.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

I had a mild headache, some joint aches and fatigue for 12 – 24 hours. It was nothing to concern me.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

Paracetamol and rest.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I feel a bit safer because I am vaccinated, but also because many people around me are too.

I am still cautious, wearing my mask in public, keeping a good distance and not socialising in large groups.

I hope that having the vaccine has reduced my chance of being seriously unwell with COVID.

Pin to Your Public Health & Awareness Boards: Chronic Illness & The COVID-19 Vaccine - Fears & Hopes

Belgium, Wallonia, Province du Luxembourg

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

My biggest fear was the side effects due to all my chronic illnesses.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

To protect vulnerable persons and myself.

Which COVID-19 Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

All was very well organized and really fast.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

Yes, for my first shot in May 2021, I had terrible fever, aches, migraine, nausea, etc. It was extremely bad.

For my second shot in June 2021, I had no side effects. I was amazed.

But ever since I had the first shot, my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), migraine and menstruation have become like hell. Before the COVID-19 vaccine they were ‘just’ a nightmare. Now they have calmed down a little.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

It was really hard to cope with the side effects. I rested, ate less and mostly plant-based whole foods.

I endured and tried my best to be patient until the situation improved. I listened to my body and mind.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I feel okay, and hope things will get better in future.

Kansas, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Because I have MCAS, I feared an allergic reaction.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

To protect myself.

Which Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

Safe with a 30 minute observation, but no issues.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

None.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Glad that I did it.

36. Dennis Labban

Trinidad, West Indies

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

I didn’t have any fears about the vaccine itself. My only fear was getting infected as I work in an essential service.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I took the vaccination as I have a few chronic illnesses.

Which Vaccine Did You Get?

Sinopharm.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

It was quick and the nurses were polite.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

No side effects.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I feel fine health wise, and I feel I am helping to eradicate COVID-19 by being vaccinated.

Canada

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

That I would get COVID-19. My asthma is poorly managed and my immune system fatigued at best, so I would not fair well.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

Mostly because I was high risk due to my asthma. But frankly, since I always fall sick so easily and recover so slowly, I worried that even without asthma I would get quite ill should I contract COVID-19.

I knew that I needed protection via the COVID-19 vaccine. Not to mention the need to protect my parents, and my sister-in-law who has severe, unmanaged asthma. And also other family members with cancer who are undergoing treatment.

Which Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

I was eligible for Astra Zeneca, but when I got there they said due to the severity of my asthma I was also eligible for Pfizer, and they wanted me on that one.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

Not bad at all really.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

I had a mild sore arm. Weirdly enough, the COVID-19 vaccine affected my menstrual cycle for both shots. It bumped them off-track and made them last longer than usual.

I did get some massive fatigue, which I thought was just me feeling unwell in the usual chronic illness way. That was until my spouse pointed out that it likely was a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine, too.

I really was laid out with fatigue for a week. I guess he likely was right. I’m just so used to being sick, it hadn’t even occured to me that it might have been something else.

If You Suffered From Side Effects, How Did You Cope? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I didn’t find it that bad. The fatigue knocked me out, yes, but really I just slept a lot and then a week later I was back to normal.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

The same as usual, which isn’t awesome, but you know, same old.

I feel a bit safer though. I would feel better if more people were vaccinated, so I’m still cautious.

Any Other Comments?

I’ve had worse reactions to the flu shot. I react sometimes to the fillers used. So this one really wasn’t bad for me at all. Sort of a pleasant surprise for me.

Maine, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

That I would get a bad reaction.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

Because I have multiple family members that are immune compromised.

I also foster children so am exposed to multiple people that I cannot be sure are practicing social distancing and masking. I wanted to continue helping families and children.

And to protect my own family I felt I needed to take the risk and get the vaccine as the lesser of two evils.

Which Vaccine Did You Get?

Moderna.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

It was easy peasy. A little arm ache was all I had.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

Just a small arm ache.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

No side effects. I did drink plenty of water, and took pain relievers within the recommended time frames.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I feel that I have made the right choice for my family and myself, and for those we come into contact with.

Oxford, England, UK

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Wasn’t afraid, was just hoping it would be effective.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I live in Oxford and have friends who were involved in Oxford Vaccine. I was reassured of it’s safety and ultimately I want to protect myself as much as possible.

Which Vaccine Did You Get?

Oxford-AstraZeneca.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

Procedure was clear and well organised.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

Sadly, yes. Nausea, very bad headache and severe joint pain. Limbs felt very heavy.

I ended up stuck in bed unable to move any part of my body for several hours. Living alone meant I couldn’t get help, and couldn’t even press my pendant alarm because I was unable to lift my arms.

In many ways I experienced an exacerbation of what I live with on a daily basis (chronic pain, neuropathy, mobility issues, neurological issues, headaches). I didn’t feel back to my “normal” for over a week.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I had no choice but to wait until I could move before I could let someone know. Speaking to others, I was assured that it would pass eventually. I increased my fluid intake and pain medications.

I would advise anyone who lives alone to have someone check in on them a few hours after the vaccine, perhaps through a phone call or by text.

For my second jab I arranged it so that if my friend didn’t get a response from me after several hours, to come by my place in person. And to even let herself in should there be no response from me.

In the end I had no side effects after the second jab, apart from a sore arm.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

That I am currently as protected as I can be, but that I and others are still at risk of getting COVID-19 and/or passing it on to others. Therefore I am still wearing a mask when in public places and limiting my social contact.

40. Anna Rothlübbers

Berlin, Germany

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Allergic reaction and worsening in chronic pain and inflammation symptoms, as well as differences in fertility long term. Additionally I have severe allergies and was worried about a potential reaction.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

Because of the associated freedoms, and because I have an increased risk of getting severe COVID.

Which Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

Good.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

For the first dose I had moderate fatigue, headaches and experienced a worsening of inflammatory symptoms. This only lasted for about 3 days though.

For the second dose I had a mild fever for about 3 days, felt like I had a flu for 1 – 2 days, and had some worsening in symptoms; but it was more like a mild flare.

Additionally as a cisgender woman, my period has since been less strong and slightly irregular. My boobs have also decreased in size.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I had a free weekend after my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and I took a long weekend break after my second (I was lucky to have it counted as a sick day).

Besides that I just tried to rest a lot, take some painkillers and ate as healthily as I could.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

I am glad that I decided to do it, but now my main worry is about female health related issues.

Any Other Comments?

Thank you for doing this, could have been super helpful to have [read this earlier].

41. Donna

Lubbock, Texas, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

The possible side effects.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I am a nurse and my son is a musician who is around crowds in bars and other venues. I have several autoimmune diseases. We both took the vaccine to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19.

Which Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

It was better than I thought it would be.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

For both injections, I had a large red area and a large lump under my skin where the shot was given.

After the second shot, I felt tired and run down the day after, then I was fine and went back to work.

How Did You Cope with the Side Effects, if Any? Any Best Tips or Advice?

The pharmacist told me to take Benadryl for the reaction. I also took NSAIDs.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Relieved and a little safer, but still staying home and using a mask if I go out.

42. Nikki

Ontario, Canada

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

I live with multiple chronic pain conditions and my pain levels are debilitating daily.

Prior to my first vaccination I was nervous. I was nervous because I had heard and read about others’ experiences and knew that my body often reacts poorly. The thought of dealing with even slightly more discomfort was daunting.

My anxiety prior to my second dose was well founded as I knew how I felt after the first dose. As a chronic pain warrior, the simple thought of more pain or discomfort is terrifying and often overwhelming.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

I choose to take the vaccine to protect myself, loved ones and those who are unable to get it.

Which Vaccine Did You Get?

Moderna.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

The over all experience was both terrible and a blessing. Physically it sucked, but I truly feel blessed to live in a place where these vaccines are readily available.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

These are the side effects I encountered: migraine attacks, severe full body aches, mild fever, extreme fatigue, nausea and gastrointestinal issues.

After the first vaccine, I did suffer from a migraine and experienced more than my usual fatigue for a few days. Those are seemingly tolerable side effects for many, but for the me, a chronic pain warrior, those side effects kicked my butt.

They kicked my butt enough that when it came time for my second vaccination, I was honestly terrified. Not of the vaccination, or of the needle, but of the possible side effects.

Knowing that many had stronger reactions to the second dose did cause further alarm. My anxiety began to rise to the point where I had to continually ground myself (a calming technique).

After my second dose I was down and out for five days. The migraine came back and hung around for three days. The body aches on top of my daily pain became overwhelming and had me straight bed ridden.

If You Suffered From Side Effects, How Did You Cope? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I coped by allowing my body the rest it needed. I coped by reminding myself that this too will pass. I coped by drinking plenty of fluids.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Now that I’ve been fully vaccinated I feel blessed and have not experienced any long term issues or side effects.

Florida, USA

What was Your Biggest Fear Pre-Vaccination?

Safety.

Why Did You Choose to Take the Vaccination?

Safety from COVID-19.

Which Vaccine Did You Get?

Pfizer.

What was the Over All Procedure Experience Like for You?

Great! I have Lyme disease, Babesia, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, POTS, MCAS and Endometriosis.

Did You Get Any Side Effects or Symptoms from the Vaccine? If So, What Did You Experience?

Apart from a sore arm, I had no side effects after the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The second one resulted in a slight headache about 30 hours after, but apart from that I had no other side effects. I actually felt better afterwards; I had three amazing days after each dose.

I recently got my booster shot as well. My body had a bigger response to that, and I had all over body soreness and fatigue for about three days.

If You Suffered From Side Effects, How Did You Cope? Any Best Tips or Advice?

I was prepared for them by reducing workload and taking a day off just in case.

How Do You Feel Now That You've Been Vaccinated?

Relieved.

Thank you to everyone who contributed your precious time, knowledge and COVID-19 vaccine experiences to this roundup!

It’s also not too late if you decide to join us. Share your COVID-19 vaccine experiences here!

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12 comments

  • Avatar of Millicent

    Thank you for putting together this post. The topic of covid is tough because most people strongly lean one way or the other. Offering a safe space for everyone to share their experience is golden.

    • Avatar of Sheryl Chan

      Thank you Millicent. It’s really tough because we all feel so strongly about it. All I want to do with this post is gather experiences from those who DID take the vaccine to try and keep it focussed to one aspect of this complex topic and issue. I’m glad that you found it to be a safe space online x

  • Avatar of Caz / InvisiblyMe

    To steal your word, this is an excellent “repository” of patient experiences. Nobody brings together patient voices quite like you do, Sheryl. It’s definitely interesting to read other experiences of the vaccine. I like your approach of neutrality despite having your own feelings, which is what I’ve tried to do in various posts like this where it’s better to present the information to allow others to make their own informed opinions or decisions.

    I have chronic conditions and went I went for my first jab, the nurses were all back and forth and making me worried because they said my history is a contra-indication for the vaccine. Having spoken to a doctor there, he said it was up to me so I said yes. Thankfully I was fine – sore arm which I couldn’t care less about because that’s nothing compared to chronic illness life, tiredness like someone was pulling my eyelids down a few hours later and a little extra nausea but nothing too bad. My parents are in their 70s and all they had were sore arms at the injection site. My dad is on immunosuppressants, however, so I do worry that his immune system is unlikely to have responded all that well to the two Pfizer jabs, if at all.

    What I find quite disturbing here is Kirsty’s experience. “I was bullied into having the vaccination. I was berated in front of a long line of public that were waiting for the injection” – that is just not on. People make an appointment and go in without being able to speak to someone first about the jabs a lot of the time, so I imagine there will be people turning up still unsure and a bit hesitant. There should never be anything like this happening, that really is awful.

    Excellent post, Sheryl!
    Caz xx

    • Avatar of Sheryl Chan

      Hi Caz! Thanks so much for your support as always! I appreciate it 🙂 Yes I do try to keep things neutral. My blog’s tagline is ‘articulating lifelong illnesses from various perspectives’, after all :p

      Haha I chuckled when I read this bit of your comment: “sore arm which I couldn’t care less about because that’s nothing compared to chronic illness life”. So true lol.

      Yes Kirsty’s experience was certainly disturbing, though I think majority had good experiences. Important – to me – to highlight all the events that people claimed happen, though! Thanks so much for reading again!

  • Avatar of Sue Jackson

    Excellent post, Sheryl! Thanks for all your hard work in putting this together. I did a 3-part series on my blog about the vaccines for those with ME/CFS and related illnesses – our immune dysfunction is quite unique which makes the decision even more complex!

    Sue

    Live with ME/CFS

    • Avatar of Sheryl Chan

      Thanks for pointing that out Sue, I will go have a look, how interesting! Yes such a complex decision isn’t it?! Thanks for doing your part and helping to raise awareness for ME/CFS, too!

  • Avatar of Claire

    Thank you for putting this together Sheryl! So informative and the views of those with chronic illness and the vaccine does seem to have been a bit ‘lost’ in the discussion, as you say. I feel so happy that so many people feel relieved after having the vaccine (as am I) and that it offers them a better feeling of safety in this awful situation.

    • Avatar of Sheryl Chan

      Thanks for contributing too, Claire! Yes that or their voices are too few, too scattered or too unheard. I hope more entries pour in. Would really love for this repository of information to grow, especially now that booster shots might be required for many of us who are immunosuppressed. (Interestingly, my doctor said that for the immunocompromised it isn’t so much seen as a booster shot as a 3rd shot!)

  • Avatar of Lucy

    Thank you Sheryl for providing such a balanced and neutral post on this. I’ve seen so many people post extremely strong views which has caused a lot of people to be afraid of sharing their views and experiences. Thank you for providing a platform to allow so many people to share their experiences and raise awareness about the procedure and side effects to help others prepare and put their minds at ease.

    • Avatar of Sheryl Chan

      Thank you Lucy. I do have my own opinions though I try to remain as neutral as I can, unless it’s flat out nonsensical. Fears and concerns are valid, though. If you like you can contribute to this repository too! 🙂

  • Avatar of Alisha Nurse

    Thanks so much for doing this round up Sheryl- it’s really insightful and helpful to get other people’s open views on this. Really handy! thanks for taking the time to put this together.

    • Avatar of Sheryl Chan

      My pleasure, Alisha! Thank you so much for contributing. I know many others with chronic illnesses are afraid, and trying to get information and experiences from others with chronic illnesses, too. So I help this helps, no matter how little!

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