The FDA approval of multiple COVID-19 vaccines has opened the door to new possibilities. West Linn-Wilsonville schools are reopening, sports are resuming, and CDC guidelines are adjusting.
The vaccine rollout has been incremental, with doses administered in waves according to potential for workplace exposure and medical risk factors. With new research emerging every day surrounding both COVID-19 and the vaccines available, there are a number of unknowns. As community members slowly receive the vaccine, their stories and experiences can guide us more confidently into these unknowns.
Of those who have been vaccinated is Lucinda Fein, junior. She works as a dietary aid at Tanner Springs assisted living home, and has received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Though she notes a profound faith in healthcare workers, she did have concerns about the vaccine.
“I would say my biggest concern was the side effects, because I heard that you feel really sick and your arm is sore and everything,” Fein said.
After her first dose, the effects were mild with one exception. “The only side effect I got was my arm feeling really sore and other than that it was fine, which was nice,” she said. “My arm was very sore though. I could barely lift it above my shoulder area.”
However, Fein understands the higher risk of side effects after the second dose.
“For the second dose, I am definitely worried about the side effects more, because of the people I do know who have been vaccinated, the second dose hits them really hard. I know that when my dad got his second dose, he immediately got really sick and had a fever from it,”
She said. “But it’s not a “real” sickness, it’s just your body reacting to it.”
Brooklyn Foody, junior, had a similarly positive experience after her first dose. “I usually have reactions to vaccines or shots but nothing this time,” Foody said.
Foody works as an early educator at Kumon, teaching reading, writing, and math to younger students. She notes the aftercare policy when getting vaccinated at the convention center.
“When I got the vaccine they sat us all down in a side waiting room for about 20 minutes to see if anyone had side effects, and no one had any side effects,” Foody said.
Robin Henderson, community parent and behavioral health professional, experienced no side effects after the first or second dose.
“I had some of my team members that had reactions like chills and maybe a fever,” Henderson said. “Nobody had reactions for more than 24-36 hours though. Personally, I didn’t have any issues either time.”
Henderson also volunteers in a vaccine clinic once a week, and has helped patients manage their concerns.
“What we see in the actual clinics is less about the vaccine and more about the fear, for some people it’s the fear of needles, for some people it’s the fear of the side effects,” Henderson said.
There are multiple perfectly valid reasons for anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine. When deciding if vaccination is right for you, and which vaccine to receive, it can be helpful to take the experiences of others into account.
“If there’s something holding you back, talk to someone who does have the vaccine,” Fein suggests. “Things like this can be intimidating because it’s really new and there’s a lot of unknowns, but they’ll always be finding out new things about everything, not just the Coronavirus.”