What I learned from my vaccination experience
Saturday, 24 July 2021, has been special to me for 3 reasons.
Firstly, it was my paternal aunt’s birthday.
Secondly, my childhood hero made his acting debut on this day 23 years ago. (No, it’s not ViRu from my book PiKu & ViRu, hehe—buy/download, read, and review it here.)
And thirdly, my sister and I got our jabs.
Yep, both of us received our first doses of Covishield at a vaccination centre near us that day.
The only thought we’ve had since then has been, “Why we didn’t do it sooner?” The process was incredibly easy, lightning-fast, and hassle-free, contrary to what we’ve been told all along. (We still feel door-to-door vaccination and neighbourhood drives without the need for an app-based registration are a better idea, but anyway…)
While we had the expert advice of our vaccinated friends that prepared us for this day, we also learned a few life lessons of our own. I decided to dedicate a blog post to these lessons so that it benefits those who are set to get their first Covid-19 vaccination dose. Hopefully, it will also motivate those who are in two minds about getting vaxxed, as well as those who are dreading its side effects. Here are my 8 nuggets of learning in no particular order.
Always carry cash and a pen
Remember what our parents would forever tell us about carrying a pen or two whenever we stepped out of the house? A year and four months of staying at home meant we had completely forgotten this advice. As a result, we had to flit around at the vaccination centre near us in search of a pen to write our CoWin India app registration details with. Only one person turned out to have a pen in a group of around 10 or 20! That’s why it’s better to have more than one properly functioning pen in your bag or pocket.
Also, despite the alleged hygiene issues involving cash payments, cash still rules. Always keep a sufficient amount of banknotes, along with some spare change, in your bag or pocket, whether your jab is free or paid, or even if you’re stepping out of the house for non-vaccine work that isn’t expected to take long. Besides, not all vaccination centres accept card or digital payments.
Most of the time, things aren’t as scary as we make them out to be
The actual vaccination process barely lasted a few seconds. I couldn’t even furnish my registration document to the vaccinator before she told me I was jabbed! It was 100% painless. It was as if someone had clicked open one of those ‘pen pencils’ on my arm—nothing more! If the piece of cotton placed on the vaccination point of my arm wouldn’t have shown the usual bit of blood when I took it out, it’d have been hard to believe I’d gotten vaxxed. It was so quick, there was no time to even ask for a photograph, forget taking one!
We are usually stronger than we think we are
After our vaccination, we were asked to sit in a waiting room for 10 minutes so we could be placed under observation for any signs or sensations of vertigo, nausea, etc. Nothing happened to anyone sitting there. I got further proof of my normal strength levels when I climbed the stairs of my building effortlessly, contrary to my fear of experiencing some sort of panting due to being out of practice. I have to thank my yoga sessions for that.
We tend to underestimate ourselves
As I mentioned, the vaccination appointment required me to get out of the house after over a year and four months. I thought I’d feel some sort of disorientation after all that staying at home. I almost believed I had forgotten all the routes. But it simply felt as if my last outdoor trip had happened only yesterday. Nothing appeared different, except for the shuttered shops, which were almost everywhere we looked. The masks around did stun me, but after a while, I got used to them. The shuttered shops broke our hearts, though.
Our immune systems are a mystery
Although my sister and I got similar side effects, the way they manifested was wildly different. While my fever consistently subsided from the moment it kicked in, my sister saw fluctuations in her temperature, which took some time to normalise. Also, contrary to all the warnings, my arm pained only for the first hour and then nothing. On the other hand, my sister’s arm was in pain for two days before it got alright. And the fever only seemed external; I felt perfectly healthy from the inside and was even humming and singing at times! Indeed, not everyone’s immune system behaves in the same manner. Take plenty of rest, use some humour, spend the time with your favourite movies and games and TV shows, and you’d be fine sooner than you think.
Plan and prepare well in advance
It’s inadvisable for all members of a family to get vaccinated simultaneously. Else, none of them will have ample time to rest amid the need to take care of the chores. Also, stock up on Crocins, Dolos, and Electral powders in the house before the day of your vaccination appointment. Electral can especially keep you energised if the jab’s side effects affect your appetite.
A cool, airy room is ideal
Ensure ample ventilation of your room by keeping the windows open and, preferably, the fan switched on. I had to switch off the fan in my room due to the chills I got from the vaccine’s side effects, but after a while, my heartbeat shot up. It was scary—as if a heart attack was imminent. Thankfully, I soon felt hot and sticky, so I had to power on the fan. My heartbeat was immediately back to normal. Since then, I’d keep the fan on whenever I was in the room. It also helped that we stuck to wearing light clothing.
Talk to your friends during your recovery
Especially the vaccinated ones—if they could make it through the side effects, you will, too. On that note, do not log onto social media or read or watch any negative-sounding health-related news or content, no matter what. You know why. An exception could be the CDC and SII websites, which could prove useful when dealing with the side effects. Also, if there are one-crore fully vaccinated people in your state, it only alludes to the power of our inner strength. Believe in that force, and you’ll get all the hope and motivation you need.
Here’s hoping my experience has been helpful to you in some way. Now, get your jabs as soon as you can at a vaccination centre near you. They’re our best protection from the virus at present.
Disclaimer: No health or health-related article can be a substitute for professional medical guidance or advice. Request you to contact and/or consult your family physician or primary care provider for more on this.