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5 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Got My Vaccine

This week officially marks two months since my initial COVID-19 vaccine, and I learned a lot from the aftermath of that process. There were many things that I did not expect to happen after my shot. But there were even more things that my peers complained about suffering through after their shots. Considering this, I decided to make a list of 5 things that I wish someone had mentioned to me before my appointment.

Complete All Obligations Ahead of Time

When the Brazos Vaccine Hub opened for its first day of administering doses, I was lucky enough to be one of the first recipients in our county. Because of this, I did not know a single person who had already gotten it that I could ask to see how their experience went. One of the things that I learned on my own was that I was absolutely DRAINED within twelve hours of receiving my first dose. While I was lucky to not have had any classes that day, I wish I had gotten much further ahead in my school work so that I could have had a bit more flexibility when it came to my deadlines. For the first few hours, I felt better than ever! By the time the vaccine really started working its way into my system, I had completely crashed and had to deal with the leftover work the next day.

Prep Meals Ahead of Time 

In addition to being overly tired while my body adjusted to the vaccine, I was hungry. But at the same time, I was too tired and sore to want to actually cook anything. Luckily I had stocked my fridge already, but I wish I had meal prepped some easy meals or had some quick and easy pre-made meals to eat when I was so exhausted that I did not want to get out of bed. 

Stay Hydrated

I'll admit that this one was fairly obvious to me.  I already drink a fair amount of water on a regular day, but many of my friends were suffering from severe dehydration after their shots because they were so distracted by the pain that they simply forgot. The easiest way to prepare for potential dehydration is to fill water filters in advance. Maybe keep some bottles of water near where you will be sleeping in case you wake up thirsty. You can also set reminders on your phone about drinking water! It is such a simple thing that it can be easy to forget. But I felt that my symptoms were so much more manageable when I was hydrated and had a clearer head. 

Ice to Reduce Inflammation

Similar to how icing an injury can benefit people by reducing their inflammation, the same applies to the injection site. My arm was tender for a few days after my shot, but the pain was much easier to endure when I would ice and rest it. Many of my sports coaches would recommend switching between icing and resting every fifteen to twenty minutes until the injury -or, in this case, the injection site- no longer felt excessively tender or the swelling had gone down a bit. Icing your arm -in addition to the recommended painkillers- a few times a day for the first three days is an additional way to make the soreness more bearable.

Stretch! But Don't Overdo It

The people administering my second shot had plenty of advice for me that not a lot of people were listening to while we waited for the fifteen minutes after the injection. The volunteer and nurse who helped me insisted that I needed to start slowly stretching my arm so I could avoid future stiffness and discomfort. When I mentioned it to a friend, they complained that it seemed counterproductive because the stretches hurt their arm. I truly believe if they had just done some light stretches, simply rotating the arm and lifting it gently, then they would have suffered less discomfort.


I hope the things I mentioned in this list were things you already knew or new helpful ideas. Remember, each person may react differently to the injection, but our bodies are resilient and will get through this.

Please remember to be kind and take care of yourself and others by still wearing your mask. 

Howdy! My name is Zoe and I am a Junior Kinesiology major with a Psychology minor at Texas A&M University.
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