COVID-19 Vaccinations: What can you Expect?
About a week ago I received a call telling me to come up to Pocahontas County High School and get my first COVID-19 vaccination. Apparently, I was high on the waiting list and they had some cancellations. Being in the qualifying age group, I had registered on the vaccinate.wv.gov website only a few days earlier.
By the way, signing up for the vaccination is easy in West Virginia. Either go to that website or if you are not Internet savvy you can call the West Virginia vaccine hotline at 1-833-734-0965 and sign up. Either way the process is simple and quick.
When I arrived at the high school, I was a little taken back by the large number of cars parked there, especially since the school was not open to students that day because of the county’s virus color code.
Expecting a long wait, I took some reading material and walked through the school’s main doors. I was immediately waived over to the gym doorway where I found a number of people standing, and thought, here is the line. I was asked if I was there for the vaccine and when I said yes, the people standing there moved aside and I was immediately met be a young lady who escorted me into the gym. There were about eleven tables well-spaced out and I was taken right to a table and sat down facing several health care workers. After being asked a few questions, another person came up and asked me which arm I wanted to receive the vaccine shot in. Immediately afterwards, I was handed a timer set to fifteen minutes and told to sit on a bleacher until the timer went off, then I was free to leave.
I learned later the fifteen-minute wait was to ensure I did not go into Anaphylaxis Shock, which is a very rare but serious side effect which would happen within that fifteen-minutes if was going to happen. It can be easily treated by the medical people present in the gym in the unlikely event it did happen.
After the fifteen-minutes, I was out of there. Total time in the gym was about twenty-minutes, including the fifteen- minute wait. I left with an appointment card to receive my second shot in three weeks and a vaccination record showing I had just received the first of two Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination shots. Other then a very minor sore arm that didn’t occur until the next day, and was gone the day after that, I did not experience any side-effects from the vaccination. The Pocahontas County Health Department deserved much credit for how this was done.
Later, I did a little research on both the CDC and the West Virginia HHS websites about the vaccines.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being administered in West Virginia. Both require two shots. The second shot for the Pfizer vaccine is given no sooner then three weeks after the first shot and the second Moderna shot is given no sooner then four weeks after the first shot. Which shot you get right now just depends on which vaccine is available. Both vaccines are about 95% effective.
They both use a new vaccine technique, known as mRNA and use genetic information from the SARS-COV 2 virus to create a spike protein, which cannot cause illness, but causes your immune system to create anti-bodies that will protect you from the virus when and if you get exposed to it.
There are other questions the answers to which scientists are still researching the answers.
- For how long will the vaccine protect us, and will we need a booster shot to maintain that protection in a year or more, or ever?
- And if you are exposed and protected by the vaccine, can you still spread the virus to others?
While we don’t yet have the answers to those questions, what we do know is you will almost assuredly (95% certain) be protected from becoming ill from the virus beginning within several weeks after you receive the second vaccine shot, and these vaccines cannot give you COVID-19.