Supplemental Log: Stardate April 1st, 2021.
For those readers who follow this site, I chronicled getting my first COVID-19 vaccination shot so that my fellow Star Trek/sci-fi fans (and valued readers) facing vaccination might have an idea of what to expect.
Well, the first vaccination went just fine; a little ache in the injection arm, and the tiniest hint of a sore throat afterward were the only symptoms I experienced. They lasted about a day or so. I was very lucky to have a friend of mine who works for my healthcare provider, and she first informed me of the Moderna surpluses last month. To those who are having difficulty finding a vaccination site? More are opening up, and here’s a resource to help as well: https://www.vaccines.gov/get-vaccinated/where
As of April Fool’s Day (not even making that up), I finally got my second dose of funky cold Moderna (after four weeks), and I am deeply grateful to the kind staff and technicians of my local healthcare provider who made the experience as easy as possible. They rival Nurse Chapel in their dedication…
Per the terms of my vaccination card (received on my first visit, and soon to be laminated), I arrived at 8:30 am on April 1st for my second and final shot (at least for this year, I hope). From the moment I was checked in to the time I left, my total time at my local clinic was about a half hour—and that includes the fifteen minutes afterward for side-effect observation. Luckily, turning into a giant spider was NOT a side-effect, nor was turning into a caveman (some might argue I already am, but that’s another column…).
“Don’t give me any Vulcan details, just gimme the shot!”
As I’d learned both from my wife’s second Pfizer injection a few weeks ago, and from independent reading from the CDC guidelines (as well as paperwork provided by the clinic), I knew the side effects for Injection #2 were going to be a bit more intense, so I knew to expect chills, body aches, and possible flu-like symptoms as well as the usual soreness at the injection site.
To be clear, I’m the kind of person who rarely (if ever) gets side-effects from flu shots, but the coronavirus vaccines are a bit more intense. Another point of clarification; when you get the shot, you will not be getting a sample of the virus in your bloodstream—the coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson only mimic the RNA sequences of the virus. This is a relatively new technology developed within the last decade or so, and it does not use the actual virus for the immunization, unlike a typical flu vaccine.
Note: If you get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you won’t require a second dose.
That said, I got my second Moderna shot with the same swiftness I received my first. I waited afterward for approximately 15 minutes, until I was dismissed, and drove myself home. No problems. Now, different people will experience different results— I am merely offering my own anecdotal experience as a possibility for what to expect.
Within three-four hours after arriving at home, I started to feel the same soreness in my left arm I’d felt four weeks earlier. I was curious at how that particular symptom seemed to manifest much earlier than last time; after my first injection, I didn’t get a sore arm until almost a day later. Luckily I wore a short sleeve t-shirt, so the nurse didn’t have to rip my sleeve (aka “the McCoy Maneuver” we saw in “The Naked Time”).
“Temperature, Captain…the first sign.”
By midnight after that first day, I began experiencing chills, body aches. I had trouble resting comfortably and found myself shifting around quite a bit. Soon, I realized I was shivering. I didn’t get more than an hour of sleep that first night. Taking my temperature the next morning, I found my temperature was only up a degree or so (my baseline is 97.5), and I was curious why I felt so much…crummier. Felt like poor Miles O’Brien after his exposure to the ‘harvesters’ in “Armageddon Game.”
Dawn came, and my fever oscillated—going up and down one or two degrees all day long—until it peaked at over 100.2 (37.8 celsius) that night at around six pm or so. To counter it, I took alternate cold and warm baths to try and break the fever (for the record, I hate baths—I’m definitely a shower man). As I exited the water, I immediately began shivering, so I took that as a good sign that I might’ve had the fever by the tail…
“It actually seems to have done me some good…”
Well, around 2 am that night (or early morning, if you’re a stickler for exact time), I woke up saturated in sweat, but I felt amazing—almost as if the past 24 hours hadn’t happened. The fever definitely broke. It was as if I’d just received a hypo full of antidote straight from the 24th century, with the same immediate result.
As I write this, four days later, there is the slightest trace of soreness in my left arm remaining, but it’s fading fast. In fact, this morning my overall energy was so strong (almost Gary Mitchell-strong) that I did a five-mile walk around my neighborhood. Watching “Star Trek” is also nice therapy as well, and I highly recommend it (hehe…).
While vaccination is an important step towards ‘herd immunity’ and diminishing the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing masks and safe-distancing is still a good idea, since we don’t yet have a cure for COVID-19, and overburdened hospitals and their overworked staffs deserve a break. Personally, I will continue wearing a mask in public, as all of us should, unless you are socializing in a group of verifiably vaccinated friends/relatives, or if you’re practicing safe-distancing outdoors. Until this pandemic emergency is declared over and done. A thin mask and a little common sense isn’t asking so much.
Now back to our regularly scheduled Geek Stuff…
To my regular readers, I stress that I’m doing this non sci-fi piece to assure you that there is nothing to fear with coronavirus vaccination, and if, at all possible, I urge you to get scheduled for a vaccination as soon as possible. Vaccinations in the United States should be FREE, but if you have health insurance (in the United States), check with your insurance provider about where to receive your vaccinations, or, I once again direct you to check out this website for details:
COVID-Safe Star Trekking.
By the way, Star Trek (all series) may be streamed on Paramount Plus (formerly CBS-All Access), with some Star Trek series and movies still available for streaming on Hulu and Netflix as well. It’s good therapy… just what the doctor ordered, especially today (“First Contact Day!”). Until we’re all through the coronavirus pandemic, please get your vaccinations as soon as possible, continue safe-distancing and all other COVID-19 protocols for the time being, so that we may all continue to live long and prosper!
Images: Trekcore.com, ParamountPlus, Author.