2020 has been a roller coaster of a year for everyone. No doubt one story overshadowed everything: COVID-19. It’s also a year where you guys haven’t seen very much of me in terms of blog posts or social media posts. There is good reason for it. I’ve tried many times to find the will power and motivation to write about my travel stories or to work on my photography vlog. However, I just couldn’t get myself to say that travel was an ok thing to do, while thousands of people die everyday from constant negligence. I know many of you would disagree with me on this with me, but if you’ve seen what’s happening on the front lines, it’s hard not to feel down more often than not.
Back in March, the pandemic started with an outbreak within my very own workplace and we lost an employee despite taking the utmost precautions possible. Along the way this year we have lost countless patients who have been with us for years, family members, and ex-employees who were good friends. In December, the very landscape of the area outside my office building (an outpatient clinic adjacent to a hospital) made a scary transformation. Morgue trucks are sometimes parked right outside in our parking lot waiting to take the departed on their final journey. There are tents outside housing screening areas for patients waiting to get into the hospital. Some of these patients are just left waiting for the next bed to become available.
It’s truly been 9 months of the roughest times imaginable. If you don’t already know, you know now that travel and photography aren’t really my line of work. It’s just a hobby. And then there was last Thursday, December 24th, on Christmas eve, when I was told I qualify for my COVID-19 vaccine under 1B (employee of a outpatient healthcare facility). Our clinic became the first one in the area administering the COVID-19 vaccine. It was truly a mix of pride and regret. We would start helping the community in a big way, but we would also not have enough doses for everyone.
I say that I’m not an emotional guy, but I can’t help but feel immensely grateful and sorrowful at the same time. Just as I was getting the jab in my arm, I found out that one of our patients (a RN and former colleague) had been placed on the ventilator. She has since, unfortunately, passed away. I tried to put up a brave face, even though that’s really what was going through my head.
Words can’t measure how I feel about the dichotomy of what’s happening right now. On one hand you have patients dying, while on the other there is sort of the “cure” to the problem, a vaccine which will hopefully put an end to the misery. It’s a surreal experience to have a vaccine in your bloodstream within 9 months of first seeing an almost unknown pathogen. It was a sense of relief, helplessness, and awe. It’s truly stunning what humanity is capable of. And despite all that’s happened, I truly started believing once again that we as a species are capable of more good than bad.
My mind is blown every time I walk into the office now and see the vaccine being drawn for administration. I’m eternally grateful that we have this chance to help our community.
My Experience with the Moderna Vaccine Over the First Week
I know there are a lot of you that are scared, skeptical, or anxious to get the vaccine. I intend to be full transparent with my experience good/bad/ugly throughout the two doses. So stay tuned for updates from me as I go along my timeline (I’ve outlined below)
The older a person was, the less likelier they were to experience these symptoms.
Day 1 : muscle soreness and weird pulsations for maybe 15 minutes.
Day 2: On and off muscle soreness. I did have a migraine like headache for 20 minutes but that really could’ve been from lack of sleep or allergies from seasonal changes.
Day 3: My arm was absolutely back to normal. I was breathing a little harder on my usual bike run but that could be more related to seasonal allergies (they’ve been wild with the temperature changes).
Day 4: I didn’t have any issues with breathing or anything during my usual exercise (I bike 15-18 miles within an hour).
Day 7: According to the studies I have around 50% immunity and a reduction in severity of symptoms if I were to catch COVID.
Jan 16-20: the window of time I’m scheduled for my second dose of the vaccine. I will update you on this once it’s in my system.
All I can say is don’t be scared! The virus is the only thing you should not trust. Over the first week those were the common symptoms (mostly among people younger than 35) among people taking the vaccine.
On the other hand, there have been instances on patients being on the ventilator within that time. So when it is your turn, get in line, and get the vaccine. After what we’ve been through you owe it to the scientific/medical community which has worked tirelessly to save lives, to just do your part so that we can get to herd immunity.
Anyway I haven’t had the chance to relate my experience with the Moderna vaccine because it has been hell of an effort getting the vaccines out to healthcare, frontline, and elderly people in our community and reporting administrations to the DSHS on time. We are currently doing 90-120 vaccinations per day in the hopes that we can hit this thing where it will really matter.
I beg everyone to stay away from crowds, avoid in-person dining, and delay all nonessential social visits. The beginning of the end to the pandemic is here, it would be a pity to catch it at this stage or give to someone at home who may not make it through. Please be patient. We are all working our hardest to distribute this vaccine as fast and fairly as we can.