With recent reports showing a third of military service members have declined the COVID-19 vaccine, I knew that many military spouses were probably doing the same. But I truly feel that many who are declining are doing so because of misinformation, something I am hoping to change.
Let me start off by saying that I am not a medical professional and do not claim to be one. But I have educated myself thoroughly about the vaccine and believe strongly that the potential risks are no more than the average vaccine and the reward is completely worth any side effects. My family and I have also had no reaction to any vaccine and do not have any concerning risk factors for any of the currently-approved vaccines. These are the families I hope to reach, because you have the power to truly make a difference by raising your hand to be vaccinated.
Before I delve into my personal experience completing the second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, I want to tackle the misinformation surrounding the vaccine. These are common statements I’ve heard from friends and family over the past few months:
False claim: There is fetal tissue or cells within the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.
It absolutely does not. Early in the development of the mRNA vaccine technology, stem cells were used for proof of concept. But they were not utilized in the production of the vaccine itself.
False claim: It has the live virus within the vaccine.
This is probably one of the biggest pieces of misinformation out there. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not have live viruses. Instead, it is created utilizing mRNA technology and involves a protein that causes your body to build an antibody response if the COVID-19 virus attempts to penetrate your cells.
False claim: It was rushed and is unsafe.
It wasn’t as rushed as you think. Although this is the first mRNA vaccine, scientists have been working with it for a decade. The vaccines underwent rigorous clinical trials in order to receive emergency FDA approval. To learn more about the process, check out this educational video provided by the CDC.
False claim: It contains microchipping so the government can watch you.
I am not even going to address this one except to say, come on. Also, they are already doing this with your smart phone. I said what I said.
The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are working to make the COVID-19 vaccine accessible for all service members, veterans, and their families. DOD distribution will occur across several phases, with all healthcare providers, healthcare support personnel, and emergency services and public safety personnel going first. Next, forward deployed personnel in austere environments and those preparing to deploy will be eligible. A full list of the DOD VACCINE DISTRIBUTION was recently released. You can also check with the health department in your local community for eligibility information.
Now, the nitty gritty of my experience from the moment the second dose of Moderna entered into my body to 48 hours after. This is my completely transparent and honest experience. Here we go.
Not going to lie, this nurse was not as amazing as my first one was. The injection pinched something awful, which is why the video of me receiving it has my face looking a little frozen. Despite it being uncomfortable this time around, I’ve experienced worse pain (childbirth anyone?).
The first hour I felt a little tingly in the arm that received the vaccine, something I also experienced in the first dose. It was brief and I didn’t feeling anything else until later that evening. Now, I’ve heard from many friends that the second dose was worse than the first – so I was prepared. I also researched potential side effects to educate myself further. That evening — about eight hours after the injection — I had a headache, my arm was notably sore, and I began to get chills.
I took 600mg of ibuprofen to combat the headache (it did the trick) and took a hot shower. That evening I slept horribly! Constant chills, arm aching, and just uncomfortable. I was definitely grumpy when I woke up the next day.
I felt fatigued and ornery, most likely from the lack of sleep the night before. I had a headache all day long, so I was rotating ibuprofen appropriately. Throughout the day I was also feeling some nausea, which made creating our grocery list and weekly menu challenging. I went to bed early and woke up the next day completely fine. My headache was gone, arm wasn’t sore, and those annoying chills were gone. I also slept all night long without waking up, which definitely helped my mood.
At the time of reporting, the U.S. has experienced more than 538,000 deaths to this virus, according to the CDC. In the past two months alone, I’ve personally lost three people I know — one was only in his 40s.
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is absolutely a personal choice. As a social worker and someone who fights for autonomy, I believe deeply in this. But for those of you who have no vaccine reaction history or risk factors for complications, I implore you to consider doing it. If not for you, for those who can’t. Those children who are immunocompromised or with special needs were on my mind in particular.
Getting completely vaccinated filled me with something I haven’t felt in a while, hope. It also gave me strength to believe that we really are coming close to ending this hell we’ve all been in for the past year. To me, getting safely vaccinated is the greatest act of love for your fellow man that you can possibly do. I would personally go through even worse to save just one life. What about you?Read comments