Eugene, OR

When You’re Almost Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19

Michelle Marie Warner
And ground yourself in appreciating and trusting science
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Take 2 — waiting in my car at observation time, after my second COVID vaccine dosePhoto by author—May 28th, 2021, Eugene, OR

I recently revisited Autzen Stadium in Eugene, OR, to receive my second and final dose of the Pfizer vaccine. This time it was crowded with eager Eugene residents.

My five-year-old daughter Noa and I waited in a long line of cars for about 15 minutes. There were a lot of healthcare staff and volunteers to expedite our vaccination process. The COVID-19 vaccines in Oregon are free of charge to everyone, and you don’t need proof of insurance.

I trust the vaccine to work and protect others. I used to feel uncomfortable with childhood vaccines and still haven’t fully vaccinated my children. I was afraid to inject them with the added ingredients, like aluminum and preservatives, when they were so tiny.

Now I trust their bodies can handle it. They have hearty immune systems and healthy liver and kidneys. I plan to get them caught up this summer.

What’s in the vaccine, and how does it work?

Vaccines typically contain adjuvants, substances that improve efficacy, and preservatives, in addition to a dead virus strain. The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines use mRNA instead of a viral vector. They don’t contain the live coronavirus, which means you can’t catch COVID from the vaccine. Vaccines rarely contain a live virus, anyway.

Here’s what inside of the Pfizer COVID vaccine, according to the PDF from the CDC website:

WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS IN THE PFIZER-BIONTECH COVID-19 VACCINE?
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine includes the following ingredients: mRNA, lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose.

Upon further investigation, I found a simpler breakdown on Hackensack Meridian Health for those of us who don’t understand the complex terms. They listed the ingredients in the Pfizer vaccine as follows: mRNA, lipids (fats), salts, and sugars.

That’s all. I’m impressed.

It was important to me to know what I’m injecting inside of my body. That was what held me back from vaccinating my kids. I knew the chemical names but didn’t understand the implications of them. The more I educate myself on how viral vector and mRNA vaccines work, I trust them more than ever.

We need to learn more about the COVID vaccine to trust its safety and efficacy. Some people believe that the COVID vaccine will alter your DNA. It’s physically impossible for spike proteins to change your genetic makeup. The messenger RNA never enters your DNA, and leaves once it replicates the protein and your body fights it off.

Here’s an explanation offered in an infographic by the CDC:

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Infographic on how COVID vaccines workCDC Website—Screenshot photo by author

How does it feel after a second dose? I had a slight fever and felt body aches for a full day, then a mild, fleeting headache the next day. I knew my body was working hard to fight those spike proteins, and I was fortunately able to rest for most of the day. We’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks from our last shot. For me, that’ll be June 11th, 2021.

Hackensack Meridian Health explains the process in a way that’s easy to understand:

Conventional vaccines, rely on weakened and inactivated pathogens or a fragment of the pathogen to trigger an immune response. In contrast, the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines use a new approach by which mRNA is delivered into our cells to provide the genetic instructions for our own cells to “temporarily” make a “specific” viral protein (the coronavirus spike protein) that triggers an immune response.

Final thoughts

Our bodies are magnificent, healing miracles. When we pair our mind’s ability to believe we can heal with actions to support our body’s ability to heal, we notice how easily our mind, body, and spirit can stay in synch and produce beauty and grace beyond measure.

On the evening of May 28th, my body recognized spike proteins introduced three weeks ago from my first covid vaccine. It remembered them so it could fight them off.

I’m fascinated by what all of my working parts have accomplished. I love that we have cells inside of our bodies that fight for our survival. Of all the weird and awful things we do to ourselves sometimes, our bodies can endure it most of the time.

I’m awestruck and grateful to be in this human body. Some of you have doubts and fears about the process. I’ve had my share of reservations.

Ultimately, my intuition led me to choose this vaccine. I trust that inner voice to guide me to what’s right for me. I won’t urge any of you to get the COVID vaccine, but I encourage you to keep checking in with that inner voice or feeling in your body. We all know what’s best for us if we’re listening.

Some of your bodies work differently, so you’ll need a unique kind of support. One way I support your body’s health is by getting the COVID vaccine, so I don’t transmit covid to any of you who are immunocompromised, allergic, or vaccine injured. I’m also willing to support you emotionally through this uncertain time.

We face challenges more than ever these days. I trust those difficult paths will become our greatest lessons, and we’ll keep on keeping on. This past weekend, I rested this beautiful body of mine and felt immense gratitude for my confidence in making a wise choice. I feel profoundly relieved to be vaccinated.

I was ecstatic when my wonderful nurse Jezarine finished giving me the shot. She added a smiley face to our timestamp, per Noa’s request. That made us all smile.

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The timestamp indicating when observation time is over, plus a smiley face from my nurse, JezarinePhoto by author—May 28th, 2021, Eugene, OR

To schedule a vaccine appointment in Lane County, or receive COVID updates, please visit lanecounty.org.

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Grateful single mama with a plethora of passions. Keen observer with an eye for editing. I write about relationships, parenting, mental health, addiction and recovery, creativity/productivity, gratitude, mindfulness, and personal growth. She/her. Let’s connect.

Eugene, OR
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