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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

We find ourselves a little less than a year from the week where America, quite literally, shut down. In December 2020, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and ever since, healthcare and essential workers across the country have been vaccinated. As a part-time medical assistant, as well as being a part-time behavior therapist, I was fortunate enough to receive the Moderna vaccine. I received the first dose in December and got the second dose a few weeks later. 

After the first dose, I had no side effects except for soreness at the site of the vaccination and the area surrounding that injection site. A few weeks later, when I got the second dose, however, I experienced pretty much all of the symptoms that I was warned about: fever, chills, headache, body aches, injection site pain, etc. Thankfully, with the help of a couple of extra-strength Tylenol, I was good as new in no time. 

Overall, there are some important things to know about the COVID vaccines! 


The COVID Vaccine Does Not Give You COVID

Since none of the COVID vaccines are made with the live virus, the vaccines cannot give you COVID-19. You cannot get sick with COVID-19 from receiving the vaccine! Instead, receiving both doses of the vaccine offers ~95% efficacy against COVID-19.

Side Effects Are Normal

Experiencing side effects after receiving a dose of the COVID vaccine is normal! In fact, according to the CDC, it’s a good sign that your body is building up its protection against the coronavirus.

Cost Should Not be an Issue

The COVID vaccines have been pre-purchased by the American federal government, and therefore, they should be free. In fact, the federal government has vowed to make them free to all since they were purchased using American taxpayer dollars. However, this may not account for administrative fees that some offices may charge for the administration of the vaccine.

You can’t return to normal activities immediately after you get your vaccine

Just because you’ve received the vaccine does not mean you can live your life as you did before you got the vaccine. In the short term, life will be similar to how it’s been these last few months. We should refrain from acting irresponsibly for the sake of protecting those who have yet to receive the vaccine. 

All in all, the future of this pandemic is still unclear. With new strains mutating and spreading, people still refusing to wear masks and social distance and the overwhelming number of deaths that have occurred as a result, it is hard to estimate when we will reach herd immunity and when life will go back to normal. Hopefully, with more and more people getting vaccinated and a new administration in control of the presidency, we will return to a more normal lifestyle within the year. 

Rishitha is a senior at VCU majoring in Bioinformatics, while on the pre-medical track. When she isn't in classes, she loves to binge-watch sitcoms, cook, bake, and spend time with her friends and family! In her future, she hopes to become a physician and make meaningful impacts on patients' lives!
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