Disclaimer – In this post, I will be sharing my experience of having the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. I am not a medical professional, therefore if you have any concerns or questions about the vaccine, please speak to your GP.
Having been classed as CEV (Clinically Extremely Vulnerable) and susceptible to Coronavirus, I, along with many other disabled people have been waiting for the vaccine roll-out. In the UK, there are three vaccines: Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna. All three vaccines serve the same purpose; they are just manufactured at different places.
Recently in the media, it has been confirmed that blood clots have been linked to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is understandably concerning. However, in my opinion, this has not caused any further concern for me, as like with every type of medication and vaccine that has been created, they need to state its potential side effects that have been reported or linked.
My First Dose
On the 23rd January (my birthday!), I had an appointment to receive the first dose of the Covid vaccine, I didn’t know which type I would be having until they asked a few questions to assess my circumstances. Due to my hearing loss, and wearing face masks, I knew it would be much easier and quicker if my Mum spoke on my behalf, rather then the Doctor removing their mask and trying to get me to understand what they were saying.
Fortunately, after Mum explaining about my disabilities, she only had to ask me one question, which was, “Any questions?” to which I turned to face the Doctor and asked, “What are the side effects?” The Doctor then told Mum which she then demonstrated to me, which was my arm hurting or achy muscles, a headache and tiredness. After being assessed, the Doctor decided that I would be having the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
I opted for my right arm to have the first dose administrated in. It was over within seconds, and my arm immediately felt sore where the needle went in. However, this is usual for me after any vaccine. (What I didn’t anticipate for was that my arm would continue to hurt for the next six days). I was given a card with my name on, the type of vaccine I was given, and the date it was given. Along with a leaflet which explained the potential side effects. We thanked the Doctor and left the surgery.
In the evening of the same day, I started to feel cold and couldn’t get warm, and I felt very restless. So, within the first twelve hours of receiving my first dose, my arm was hurting, I was experiencing the chills and felt restless. On the second day, I was experiencing mild flu-like symptoms, which included: aching muscles (all over), a headache, tiredness, and generally feeling unwell. I started taking some paracetamol which eased the headache and achy muscles slightly.
On the third day, I felt a little better than the day before, but still not 100%. I still felt a little under the weather, but had regained some energy. My arm, on the other hand, was at its most painful which carried through to the fourth day and I woke up with a very stiff arm, and was unable to raise my arm above my shoulder without causing me to wince in pain.
Although, I was feeling a lot better in myself and was now only contending with a very stiff and painful arm. As mentioned above, my arm continued to hurt for six days in total.
My Second Dose
On the 17th of April, I had an appointment to receive my second dose of the vaccine. Whilst waiting in the queue, I was checking my purse to find my vaccination card, and no matter how many times that I looked, I just could not find it. So, this caused me anxiety as I didn’t want to delay other patients receiving their vaccine.
Thankfully, I was reassured that it was on the system that I had already had my first dose, and that I would be given a new card and if I ended up finding my original card, then I could just staple them together. Also, this time round, I had bought Mum a face mask with a transparent covering, which meant I could read her lips without her having to lower her mask.
Again, like the previous appointment, Mum answered the questions that were asked, just to speed things up. The Nurse picked up a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and administrated it into my left arm. Now i’m fully vaccinated, woo! I was sceptical as my arm wasn’t hurting, I thought, ‘what is this sorcery?’
Within the first twelve hours of receiving my second dose, I had a little bit of a headache, and felt restless. Again, I took some paracetamol which helped ease my headache, and helped me to sleep. On the second day, I felt very tired, and a little under the weather, but nothing in comparison to the first time. My arm still felt fine, no bruising or tenderness whatsoever.
On the third day, I wasn’t feeling 100% but I was very close. It felt like an instance where you just feel ‘off’, but can’t really pinpoint as to what it is. Some more paracetamol was taken to see if it would help, which it did. By the fourth day, I felt like my normal self again. So, this time round, it was a lot better and I was pleasantly surprised that my arm didn’t hurt at all!
I wanted to share my experience with you as not everyone will react the same with each dose. If you are offered any of the three vaccines (I apologise, I don’t know if there are other types in different countries), then please have it. The world needs to recover from this pandemic, each step we take towards helping it to recover, will slowly give us back some level of normality.
Have you had the vaccine? If so, did you experience any side effects?