I wrestled with this question. The vaccines came about so quickly. My health issues were already quite complicated. My husband was high risk for hospitalization and death if he were infected with Covid-19. What should I do? What should he do? Was the vaccine safe? Would it make us sick?
We heard in late December that the vaccines would start with healthcare workers, and trickle down to the general public in waves with those most likely to die from infection near the front of the line. Initially it was promoted to give the vaccine to essential workers after healthcare personnel. We patiently waited for news as we contemplated what to do.
Meanwhile, a stir of fear and suspicion began to spread. Some folks claimed that since the vaccine was not developed in the United States that it wasn’t tested enough. Other people feared it because it wasn’t fully FDA approved. There were also the conspiracy theorists that claimed the whole thing was a lie and the government was actually planning to put miniature chips in the arms of Americans.
My husband decided quickly. One day our friend texted and told me that the vaccine would be offered the next day at a nearby clinic for age 65 and up. He immediately decided that he was doing it! I drove him to the place, dropped him off, and headed for a grocery pickup at our local supermarket while he was processed. His arm was sore for two or three days, and he felt fatigued. The shot wasn’t too big of a deal, in fact, it was more like a flu shot reaction. It turned out that someone had spread a rumor, and that clinic only meant to give the shot to more health care workers, but when almost five hundred seniors showed up, they graciously gave them the shot anyway.
Somehow, I felt as if my husband was safer, now; although, the research assured us that he was not! We continued to mostly remain at home, and if we did venture out for a doctor visit, grocery pickup, or a take out meal, we wore masks and used sanitizer as needed.
Only a month later, our wonderful city began offering the shot for 18-64 year-olds with risk factors. I waited a couple of days after the clinic opened and then decided to go for it. I have lymphoma cancer, so my risk was elevated. I arrived thirty minutes before they opened the doors, and the long line moved quickly. I was in and out in two hours. The first day I had no symptoms, but my arm was sore by nightfall. The next day was not so great. Every joint in my body ached. Even the toes and fingers. I wanted to sleep all day, and my arm was so sore I could not move it. I had received the shot in the arm that had surgery several months before. The third day was better, and by the fourth day, I felt almost normal.