Photo by M-Foto

After the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in December, healthcare workers nationwide began receiving the vaccine’s first and second doses. Many saw it as a glimmer of hope after such a tumultuous year. 

University of California, Irvine Fellow Physician Bobak Koohian, was administered his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 19 and second dose on Jan. 9. After receiving the second vaccine dose, he said he experienced more side effects.

“The first dose had very minimal side effects, just some soreness in my arm and maybe just a little bit of fatigue,” Koohian told Scriberr News. 

“After the second dose, I definitely felt [side effects] within 12 hours, body aches and fatigue up to like 24 hours after I got the dose.”

Koohian works in a smaller health clinic that belongs to a more extensive hospital system in Irvine and says the hospital gives out daily updates on how many healthcare workers have received the vaccine. 

“The hospital itself gives us daily updates, and so far, 86% of the workforce has been vaccinated,” Koohian said. 

Koohian recommends that people get the vaccine as soon as they are available to the public.

“While this is the first type of mRNA vaccine we’ve had access to, it doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been an extensive amount of research done about viruses in this class and vaccines in this class,” Koohian said. 

“People who are concerned about the side effects should rest assured that compared to actually having the virus, even if you have a mild case of COVID, it is much less of an issue than getting sick,” he said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the first Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 11 for individuals 16 years of age and older. The FDA then issued an additional EUA for the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine on Dec. 18 for individuals 18 years of age and older.

Both of the vaccines come with the possibility of side effects, including soreness, fatigue, headache, nausea, and fever. According to the FDA, more people who have had both doses of either vaccine experienced more side effects after the second dose.  

Last year on Dec. 14, New York City Nurse, Sandra Lindsay, became the first person in the United States to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. She was given her second dose of the vaccine on Jan. 4. 

Since then, 29,380,125 doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed across the U.S., and 10,278,462 people have received the first dose. In the U.S., COVID-19 vaccines have only been given to healthcare workers.

Adam Bruno works in the Department of Protective Services at Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento, California, and was administered both doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. He received his first dose on Dec. 22 and his second dose on Jan.13. 

Bruno did not experience any side effects after his first dose but felt fatigued after the second one. He had some concerns before getting the vaccine but felt more comfortable after seeing it administered every day.

“At first, I did [have concerns] and it was more because of the media, but once I actually looked into it, it was in my mind while I was working,” Bruno told Scriberr News.

“I was actually assisting with the medical staff that was administering the vaccine, and when several of my actual primary care doctors went in and got it done, I knew I should have no problem.” 

North Coast Family Medical Group’s Clinical Manager, Tessa Pendleton, was administered her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 9 and is working on creating a plan of action to disburse the vaccine to their patients. 

After the first dose, Pendleton experienced soreness in her arm but no other side effects. 

Although the new vaccine comes as a sense of relief, some may have concerns. Both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were developed in less than one year. This development is record-breaking since a majority of the vaccines take years to build. 

“I get the concern, but I also just trust that we know what we’re doing, or scientists know what they’re doing,” Pendleton told Scriberr News. “I don’t know how things could get any better if we don’t even try.”

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the state of California is working to distribute and administer both vaccine doses as quickly as possible. As of Jan. 13, CDPH released an update saying that the state prioritizes vaccinating healthcare workers and people 65 years of age and older. 

Written ByLauren Akabori

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