I got my booster during a work day and here’s how it went
I had gotten the Pfizer vaccine, but chose the Moderna booster.
Recent data has proved that the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines dips sharply over time, and can go down to 10 per cent efficacy 20 weeks after taking your second dose.
That’s why when it was announced that those aged 18 to 29 could get their boosters, I was ecstatic and wanted to take mine as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, it turned out that ‘as soon as possible’ meant Jan 4, which was a Tuesday. I didn’t want to delay it as I got the SMS invitation later than most of my friends, so I made an appointment for my lunch hour on a work day – against my better judgement.
Because I didn’t want to spend too much of my lunch hour travelling, I chose the vaccination centre closest to my house, which happened to be a Moderna vaccination centre. I was a little apprehensive as I’ve heard stories about the stronger side effects compared to the Pfizer vaccine that I took previously, but with the rise of Omicron cases, I wasn’t going to be choosy about it.
Getting the booster itself was fine. Since the observation period for symptoms was halved to 15 minutes, I was in and out of the building in 30 minutes.
Battling the side effects
Once I got home, I started feeling it. My arm steadily got more sore as I worked, and eight hours after getting my shot, I had joint pain, body ache, and felt lethargic. It was at this point that I reluctantly asked my supervisor if I could take Wednesday off to recover. And I’m glad I did.
When I woke up, all my previous symptoms had gotten significantly worse, my back and eyes hurt, and I had a headache that made me feel like I was swimming when I walked. When I brushed my teeth, I actually vomited a bit.
These made going about my day significantly harder, and at one point I just laid in bed for a few hours. My headache prevented me from having a quality nap, but it seemed like the best option at the time.
For the entire day, I didn’t attempt anything physically taxing (which included leaving the house and cleaning). I just did the things I normally didn’t have time for during a work day— at least, the ones that required the least amount of energy— and that made the experience much more bearable.
I was tempted to binge Netflix, but knowing that staring at my laptop would have made my headache much worse, I opted for screenless activities. I spent the day reading, practising doing makeup and painting. Though the latter two may seem counterintuitive, I didn’t have to raise my sore arm too high when I did them, and I still got to feel productive.
I also swung my sore arm like a windmill every hour or so. I saw the hack on TikTok, and it made my arm less sore throughout the day.
I took a lot of Vitamin C. Coconut water is supposedly the best way to alleviate post-jab symptoms, but I strongly dislike the taste so I supplemented it with Redoxon. All of these things made my day off, though bad, much better than I expected when the day started.
Was it worth it?
Despite the symptoms I experienced, I don’t regret taking the booster when I did. The ever-changing nature of the pandemic has given me some serious anxiety, so I’m glad I took it as early as possible.
My supervisor and colleagues were also super understanding when I took the day off. I had been worried that I would fall behind on work, but I think now everyone is quite understanding about post-jab sickness, and it’s become normal to expect people to need to recover the day or even week after.
One last thing I noted was that my symptoms were only bad the day after my jab. When I woke up on Thursday morning, I was completely fine apart from some lingering arm soreness. Though everyone’s recovery period will be different, the booster having a smaller dosage than the vaccine definitely made mine much faster.
If you’re getting your booster soon, don’t be scared. My advice is to take it easy the days after, and make sure you’re getting the sufficient amount of nutrients you need to recover. Once it’s over, it actually feels quite good to know you’re sufficiently protected from the virus again.
Youths above 18 can simply walk into any vaccination centre to get your booster shot, as long as it has been more than five months since your second dose.