I took the COVID-19 vaccine Friday. Since I will be in different hospitals for clinicals, I might as well go ahead.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine isn’t like Moderna and Pfizer. It only takes one dose to be fully inoculated. That’s because the other two brands are mRNA vaccines. Meaning they give instructions to our cells on how to make protein.
The J&J vaccine, however, is a vector vaccine. In a vector vaccine, the vector carries a gene unique to the virus. Once the gene lands on the surface of the cell, there is a spike in antigen proteins.
It triggers a response to make antibodies and tricks T-cells to fight off the “virus” (there is no actual virus there). This gene is unique to SARS-Co-V2, so it will protect against an actual infection in the future.
So, I’m going to give you a timeline of what happened in the last 24 hours since I was vaccinated.
11:15AM - I arrive at Kroger and check-in at the pharmacy. Other people are in line, so I wait for my turn.
12 Noon - The nurse answers all my questions about recovery time and what to expect. I pull down my sweater as she quickly injects the needle in my left deltoid. After that, I grab some 8HR Tylenol and check out.
12:32 - So far, my arm is just sore. But I’m still able to do house work and make myself some lunch. Took some Tylenol and started on my homework.
Nothing happened for a while, I was even able to pick up dinner without feeling dizzy. But when nighttime came, things were changing.
9:30PM - It started with a stuffy nose and constant sniffling. I was okay with that since I figured the Tylenol was wearing off.
10:32PM - I started feeling chilly. Despite the room being warm and toasty. I grabbed my fuzzy socks and cocooned myself in a blanket on the couch. At this point I wanted to drink a lot of water.
11:00PM - Jack says I look flushed. He checks my temperature and I have a fever. I went from being chilly to freezing. I’m in a fetal position on the couch because I’m feeling nausea.
11:50PM - I feel myself drifting off to sleep. My dog decides to join me. I use her for warmth and hold her against my stomach.
Of course, there’s nothing to report for a couple of hours. It was very late when I woke up and my chills turned into sweat. The last few hours of this were the worst.
2:36AM - I wake up and no longer feel cold. Instead, I feel sweaty and hot. Also, I’m starting to feel muscle aches in my legs. I realized that the aches were going to get worse. So, I gather my things from the living room and head to bed.
2:45AM - I take some more Tylenol so I can sleep again. The leg pain is not helping. I toss and turn for a while. Trying to find a comfortable position for my legs but it’s not possible.
3:03AM - The Tylenol finally kicks in and I find respite from the pain. I’m hungry now and go get a late night snack and more water.
4:00AM - I’m finally asleep.
Saturday at 10:00AM - I feel great! There is some very mild, hardly noticeable soreness on my arm. But overall, I feel well rested and plan on jumping in the shower to wash off the sweat.
I’m glad I was able to get the one-dose shot. It was definitely worth it.
If I had to offer advice to anyone who wants to take the vaccine it’s be mindful of symptoms and your body.
Sleep will help build antibodies faster because you aren’t using up all that energy. The immune system can use all that extra energy to do it’s thing while you’re asleep. That’s why I feel so refreshed in the morning. All the hard work was done at night.
If you know you have a weak immune system be careful and talk to a doctor first. Vaccines target the immune system and everyone’s is different. I happen to have a pretty good immune system, so I was expecting what happened last night.
Only you know how your body acts when it’s sick. All vaccines have an antibody building period. Which means, while you think you're getting sick, you aren’t really sick. The vaccine just tricks the body into responding to create those antibodies.
While this is merely an anecdotal look at the J&J vaccine. I hope it was informative and gives you an idea on what to expect.
Stay safe everyone!