Yesterday, after becoming eligible due to my new employment position, I received my first coronavirus vaccine.

I wasn’t prepared for the emotional response I would have. It’s not like I’ve been working on the frontlines for the past year like so many nurses, doctors, medical assistants, housecleaning staff, and other healthcare professionals that I know. And I do know many, many of them. They have been through hell. They’ve worried about catching the virus (several of them have). They’ve worried about bringing it home to their loved ones. They’ve watched countless patients die. One of my former coworkers did die, sending shockwaves through the hearts of many people I have considered “family” for years. I haven’t been in their shoes these past eleven months, so I wasn’t expecting to feel as emotional about this vaccine as I did.

What I have been is sick. My long-hauler symptoms have been improving the last few weeks, but I still get short of breath and my heart rate escalates drastically with very minimal exertion. I still get random days where I feel completely exhausted and drained, for no reason. But those days are the exception now, rather than the rule.

I have also been worried. Worried about my son who has had a persistent cough and other recurring symptoms since March. He’s not even six years old yet. He shouldn’t have gotten this sick. What would happen if he caught it again? What would happen if I caught it again? It is very realistic that I could die.

So yes, I feel an extreme amount of gratitude and relief with the administration of this vaccine. I am humbled by all those who worked so hard to bring it to us. By those who have worked so hard, for so long, without it’s protection. By what it means for the future of our world.

For those that are curious, I got the Pfizer vaccine. It did not feel cold at all, despite the need to keep it in deep freeze conditions. In fact, it was one of the least painful shots I’ve ever gotten. One day out, I have very mild soreness in my arm. Less than what I experienced after the flu vaccine. Certainly less than a tetanus booster. Honestly, I’ve barely noticed it all day. I’m no more fatigued than normal, no headache, no other side effects at all. I’m relieved, as I was expecting the vaccine to re-trigger the heightened inflammatory response I’ve been dealing with since March.

Get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible. It is so important, and SO worth it.

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