Coronavirus Update From New York City: November 18, 2021 (Booster Shot Edition)

As readers can tell from the title of my Coronavirus update post tonight, I got my booster shot in the past week!

Last Friday, I got my booster vaccine shot. I was eligible for the booster because: a) it had been over six months since I got my second shot and b) my body mass index is such that I was eligible for it.

I was originally caught a little off guard by the fact that the booster shots being given out at my vaccine site were Pfizer. I was caught off guard because I thought I had decided to get a Moderna booster shot (matching with the first two vaccine shots I got, which were Moderna), yet here I was, seeing that the booster shots they were giving were for the Pfizer vaccine.

However, while I was waiting on line, I did a little bit of research about mixing and matching vaccines so that your first two shots were from one vaccine but your booster was from another vaccine. I reminded myself that both the Food and Drug Administration[1] and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[2] allow for this mixing and matching–meaning that it is safe to mix and match as I ended up doing (getting the first two shots from the Moderna vaccine and my booster from the Pfizer vaccine). Upon this bit of research, I felt at ease, and realized that I was just fine getting my booster from the Pfizer vaccine, even though my first two shots were from the Moderna vaccine.

So, I got my booster shot, and interestingly, the side effects as a whole weren’t quite as bad as they were after I got my second Moderna shot last April. I ran a fever that approached 100F, had an absolutely pounding headache for a good portion of the day last Saturday, fatigue, a moderately sore arm, and a loss of appetite. In contrast, with my second shot in late April, all these side effects I had last weekend were as bad or worse, and additionally I had chills (something that I didn’t have last weekend). Still, I would take the side effects of the booster and the second shot combined over not taking a vaccine and getting the virus.

What I hope I’m conveying in tonight’s post is that: a) getting a booster is safe and b) mixing and matching for your booster is also safe. I could be wrong, but the fact that you can mix and match is just oh so important in places where there’s only one particular type of vaccine that people have easy access to, and that type is different from what they had access to for their first two shots.

So, I hope that people get their booster shots when they are eligible! With COVID on the rise in many parts of the United States again, we want to give ourselves as much protection from the virus as we possibly could, and the booster is something that can help protect us from the virus.

So, that is it for now. I wanted to focus on my experiences with getting the vaccine booster shot. I hope others share their experiences of getting the booster.

Also, as a little side note, I do not plan on publishing a Coronavirus update post next Thursday, which is Thanksgiving. In fact, I don’t plan on publishing any posts during the week of Thanksgiving so that I can give myself a little rest. And when I get back to publishing blog posts after Thanksgiving, I’m planning to do my COVID update posts at a rate of about once a month, instead of once a week, since there isn’t a lot of news for me to report on locally or personally on the pandemic front.


[1] https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-takes-additional-actions-use-booster-dose-covid-19-vaccines

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p1021-covid-booster.html

Coronavirus Update From New York City: April 29, 2021 (Second Vaccine Shot Edition)

A picture of me after I got my second Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shot

As readers can tell by the title of tonight’s COVID update blog post, I have now received my second and final shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine!

I got the shot last Sunday, April 25th.

The directions for heading into the facility for my second shot could’ve been better, as a number of us were confused as to where exactly we should be going. However, once I got into the facility that was doing the vaccinations, it was a pretty quick and smooth process to get from check-ins to the vaccination, and from the vaccination to post-vaccination monitoring.

As for side effects, they were more severe after the second dose than after the first dose–something which is apparently the case for many people. After my first dose, I just had a sore arm for a short period of time. After my second dose, I started with a sore arm. However, on the night after I received my vaccine shot (night of the 25th/morning of the 26th), I woke up to my shivering. I had chills. In addition to chills and the sore arm, I ultimately had the following side effects:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite (which for me often comes with having fatigue and/or a headache, so it’s hard for me to say whether this was an actual side effect or the result of other side effects)
  • Fever (at one point, a fever of 100.5)

Such side effects are apparently not unusual, for many people report having low-grade COVID symptoms after their second vaccine dose (with both Pfizer and Moderna) for anywhere between one day and few days. In my case, the most severe side effects lasted for 24 hours (with only a little bit of arm soreness after I recovered from other side effects). However, each person’s body is different, and as such, each person’s reaction to their second vaccine dose is going to be different. Regardless, if you feel unwell for a day or two or even three, don’t panic. If you still feel unwell even after a few days have passed, I would recommend calling a doctor.

Obviously, in terms of side effects, you want to hope for the best. Still, if you want to “prepare for the worst” (which is nothing compared to actually having COVID), those who are taking their second vaccine doses should be prepared to:

  • Potentially feel unwell for somewhere between one day and a few days
  • Drink lots of water if you feel unwell (a special shoutout to the friends of mine who told me the same thing)
  • Rely on the help of others for a day to a few days (or, if you have nobody else to rely on, prepared to not do much for a day to a few days if at all possible)
  • Use sick leave at work, if your job has such a thing as sick leave

For all that I’ve talked about my side effects from the second Moderna shot in this post, I should emphasize that I have zero regrets about getting the second shot. If I had to make the same decision all over again about whether to get a second shot, I would get my second shot without the slightest bit of hesitation. Likewise, I would urge others to not be hesitant about getting that second shot, even with stories of side effects from people like me. For one thing, the science says that you need both vaccine shots of the Pfizer and Moderna in order to have maximum protection, so while some are foregoing their second shots because they believe they have adequate protection from COVID, the science simply does not match up with that belief.[1] For another thing, while one can experience side effects from the second vaccine shot, the side effects are child’s play compared to actually getting symptoms of the virus–a virus that has killed nearly 3.2 million people worldwide as of the time of my writing this post. As such, I beg those who are hesitant about having a second vaccine dose to keep things in perspective, and remember that having COVID (or putting yourself at risk for having COVID through not being fully vaccinated) is much riskier than having a COVID vaccine (even the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is a single-shot vaccine and has had blood clot issues reported with a tiny number of vaccine recipients).

I know that my paragraph above was rather lengthy, but given that apparently close to 8% of people in America who’ve received their first shots of the Pfizer and Moderna not receiving their second doses, I want to do my part in addressing the hesitancy that seems to exist with regards to getting a second shot (a lot of which seems to center around concerns about side effects as well as the belief one is protected). A lot of the talk around vaccine hesitancy is centered around getting a shot to begin with, but there’s also hesitancy around getting a second shot–hesitancy that I think those of us who have received our second shots have a moral obligation to address as best as possible.

If other readers have received their second shots of the Pfizer or Moderna, or received their single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, please let me know if there’s anything to add beyond what I covered in this post!


[1] https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/04/millions-of-americans-are-skipping-their-second-covid-shot.html