SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Now that vaccine distribution is moving into phase two in Massachusetts and people other than healthcare workers and first responders can start to get vaccinated, most people are probably asking themselves should I get vaccinated?

I can’t tell you what to do but I can share my experience with you and why I got vaccinated.

Aside from being a full-time Digital Producer for 22News I also work at Baystate Medical Center per diem as a Lab Assistant. Being a healthcare worker I was offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the beginning of January. I got my first Moderna vaccine on January 5 and my second on February 2.

When I signed up for my appointment through Baystate Health I was asked if I wanted the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine. Most people I’ve spoken to were not given the choice, but I think I was because they had both available. I did my research and learned that both were great and very effective (approximately 95% effective), but I picked Moderna.

Before choosing to get vaccinated, many thoughts went through my mind as I’m sure they’re probably going through everyone else’s. Should I get vaccinated? Will the vaccine give me COVID? Will I get sick? What’s in the vaccine?

I’m not a doctor and I can’t answer everything but I can tell you why I decided to get the COVID-19 vaccine and my experience with it.

My first shot

  • The first shot, for me, felt nonexistent. I had to ask if it was over because I didn’t feel a thing. It was quick and painless. The only side effect I experienced was a very sore arm. I struggled to lift it for a little over 24 hours.

My second shot

  • My second shot was an entirely different story. I felt this one a lot more and experienced more side effects. It didn’t hurt, but I could feel the needle, unlike the first time. I got my shot around 2 p.m. on Tuesday, February 2, and started feeling side effects around 9 p.m. the same day.

Side effects

  • About six hours later around 9 p.m. I started to get a headache and felt very groggy and sick
  • Then I had bad body aches everywhere
  • My first fever was 100.2 and I felt hot and was sweating
  • Fever went down to 99 with Tylenol and then back up to 100.6 after resting
  • My fever was gone around 7 p.m. Wednesday but I was still taking Tylenol and Ibuprofen to be sure
  • I experienced body aches Tuesday night and all-day Wednesday
  • Thursday I didn’t have a fever or as bad of body aches but was just very tired and a little achy.
  • Felt back to normal late afternoon Thursday

My side effects were pretty uncomfortable and I felt awful but it was nothing a little water, medicine, and rest couldn’t fix and, in my opinion, it was better than getting the virus.

Although I had questions, as soon as I was offered the vaccine I knew it was something I wanted to do. I figured I’ve been lucky enough to not get sick thus far and if there is anything I can do to protect other people and help slow this virus down in hopes of returning to some type of normalcy, I’m in.

When you get vaccinated you’re given an info packet with information about the vaccine that included frequently asked questions and information about side effects. A common question people have is will I get sick or will I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

According to Moderna’s website, the Moderna vaccine uses mRNA to provide a blueprint for your cells to build your body’s defense against SARS-CoV-2. It does not contain SARS-CoV-2 or any virus, just the blueprint to help fight against it.

(Photo: Mass.gov)

Now that I’m fully vaccinated my day to day won’t look much different until numbers go down and the CDC tells me otherwise. I will still abide by the CDC guidelines of wearing a mask, limiting who I come in contact with and where I go, and continuing to social distance in settings where I need to, but I am much more relieved now. I’m relieved to know that I’m protected and my chances of getting the virus are low.

Did you get the COVID-19 vaccine? Email us your story and photos to reportit@wwlp.com.