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My Experience Getting the Moderna Vaccine

When the vaccine was first being developed and distributed, I definitely didn’t think that I would be fully vaccinated long before the semester ended. As a healthy young person with no conditions putting me at-risk, I thought I would be far down the list. However, due to my on-campus jobs, I was able to get the first dose of the Moderna vaccine in late February and then the second dose again in late March. 

First Dose: 

I have three on-campus jobs, two of which work with students in-person. Because of this, my university considered me a frontline worker, which allowed for me to be put on the list to get vaccinated. 

Further, CNU has turned our basketball court into a vaccine clinic, allowing for both students and members of the Newport News community to be vaccinated. As someone who still lives on campus, this was so convenient. I was able to schedule to go right after my class, and I was so excited I could barely pay attention (don’t tell my professor). 

The clinic itself was super efficient. The school had set up multiple stations with volunteers standing at multiple checkpoints in order to keep people spaced out. Further, all of the steps kept things moving smoothly and quickly. 

covid vaccine one bottle
Photo by Daniel Schludi from Unsplash

Before I knew it, I was sitting at a station getting ready to be sticked. The volunteers were super friendly, making conversation as they took my info, gave me the vaccine, and sent me off with my information card. 

It was so strange that such a momentous moment only took about two minutes, but I was still so happy about it. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders, and I already felt so much safer in class and at work. 

As for side effects, for the first dose, it was just arm muscle pain. This was something I was warned about ahead of time, but I definitely was not prepared for just how much it hurt. Still, it was worth it to feel that sense of security that came with being vaccinated. 

Second Dose: 

Moderna is one of the versions of the vaccine that requires two doses in order to be effective. For Moderna, the second dose is scheduled at least four weeks after the first dose, so four weeks after, I got the second email about registering for the second dose. 

I was definitely a lot more nervous about getting the second dose. A lot of people had been talking about the bad side effects that come with the second dose, including intense flu-like symptoms. The weekend before, I stocked up at the grocery store with enough food to last me two weeks, as well as a lot of easy meals that I could make when I wasn’t feeling well. I was scheduled to get my second dose on the Friday of that week, but I was prepared in case I didn’t feel well until the following Wednesday. It was intense, but I wanted to be prepared. 

Again, the process of the clinic was smooth and easy. When I got to the station to receive the shot, the guy asked me if I was nervous. I told him I was a little, because you know, honesty. He just laughed and told me to stay hydrated and I would be fine. Then, he stuck the needle in my arm and I was officially fully vaccinated. 

coronavirus vaccine
Photo by Hakan Nural from Unsplash

The side effects didn’t kick in for a while. I got the dose at around 3:30 PM, but it wasn’t until around 10 that I started to feel achy. The next morning, I woke up, and the achiness was much worse, like I had the flu. Thankfully, though, that was the only symptom I had, and I was able to spend the day resting and playing Animal Crossing. Further, Tylenol helped reduce the symptoms and made them bearable so that I could still kind of function for the weekend. 

By Sunday morning, the achiness was practically gone. I was still really tired, but I was able to get ready for my classes for the week. Despite being miserable for a couple of days, I still feel super lucky and thankful to be the first person in my family to be fully vaccinated. 

Even though I am now fully vaccinated, it will take another two weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective against the vaccine. Further, the vaccine won’t protect me or others from getting COVID, so I still have to socially distance and wear masks, but now my immune system can better fight off the disease. This entire experience has helped to alleviate a lot of anxiety and definitely allows me to feel a lot safer. 


Caroline Ernst is a senior at Christopher Newport University studying English with a writing concentration and classical studies and literature as minors. She studied abroad in Rome fall semester of her junior year, where she spent her time exploring the city, Italy, and many other European cities. On campus, she works as her university's Italian tutor in their tutoring center, where she also work as a the Foreign Language Lead Tutor. In addition, she works in the writing center on campus as a writing consultant, helping students with their essays and other writings. She is a proud member of CNU's chapter of Her Campus, where she writes for their writing team and this year will take on the responsibility as Senior Editor.
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