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

Coronavirus Update From New York City: April 22, 2021

I hope everyone is healthy and safe, regardless of where you live.

I am on the verge of being fully vaccinated! I am scheduled to get my second dose next Sunday. I look forward to being fully vaccinated, even if there are certain public health precautions I should follow even after vaccination. Next week, I will make sure to give a full report of how the second dose went and how I felt after the shot.

Thankfully I have not heard of any other deaths of friends of friends, friends of family, colleagues of family, etc. in the past week, so that is nice for a change. I know that a couple of my COVID update posts recently have been on the sorrowful side, so it’s nice not to have tonight’s post be on the sorrowful side as well.

In other positive news, the hospital closest to where I live is under somewhat less stress from COVID now than it was a number of weeks ago. While a significant number of hospital beds and ICU beds are still taken up by COVID patients, those numbers are not as high as they were several months ago. To give my readers a contrast of how much things have changed in this regard, at one point nearly 80% of ICU beds were taken up by COVID patients at the hospital closest to where I live,[1] but now that number is down to 43%.[2]

The test positivity rate in my part of New York City is 7.9%, which is slightly down from where the test positivity rate was at this point last week. People continue to get vaccinated, but with my neighborhood’s numbers the way that they are, and with my city’s numbers the way that they are (test positivity rate is just above 6%), it’s a reminder that COVID is still very much going around.

One disclaimer I should add to this post is that the situation I’m reporting on is the situation in New York City, and in my part of New York City, at that. What may be the case where I live is not necessarily the case nationwide in the United States. I offer this reminder as I hear about parts of the United States going through yet another wave of this virus.

I’m more than happy to hear how my readers are doing. Hopefully everyone else is staying healthy!


[1] https://blindinjusticeblog.com/2021/02/18/coronavirus-update-from-new-york-city-february-18-2021/

[2] https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/12/09/944379919/new-data-reveal-which-hospitals-are-dangerously-full-is-yours#lookup

Coronavirus Update From New York City: April 15, 2021

Unfortunately, I have to start tonight’s post yet again in a downbeat manner.

Last weekend, my family lost a family friend to COVID.

It was devastating to learn this news. While it was my dad who knew this person far better than anyone else, it is news that affects all of us in one way or another.

The news also provided me with a somber reminder that nobody is truly invincible when it comes to this virus. This person was barely in her forties and had already received her first vaccine dose–two things that some people may mistakenly think are things going for this person. But nope. While some of us may like to or want to believe that this is a virus that mostly older persons get (not that it makes the disease any less serious because younger persons can carry the disease to older persons), or that this is a disease that makes you invincible even upon the first dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, such things are not the case.

Last, but not least, this death is yet another reminder that this pandemic is far from over. We may like to think that because vaccines are coming to us, the pandemic is coming to an end. While I hold some hope for the vaccines, we need more than vaccines–people need to stop the partying, the masklessness, and the lack of social distancing. People who continue to willfully ignore the public health guidance on COVID need to start caring for individuals other than themselves.

As for what numbers are like in my part of New York City this week, the test positivity rate is at 8.3%. That is actually relatively level compared to where the numbers were last week. Still, these numbers indicate that my part of New York City is far from being out of the woods with the virus, even if more people are getting vaccinated.

I guess the ultimate takeaway, between the news I have this week and the test positivity numbers I just said, is that even if some of us may want to be done with the virus, the virus is far from being done with us. Let’s continue to wear our masks, socially distance, and keep non-essential travel to a minimum.

Coronavirus Update From New York City: April 8, 2021

First of all, I hope people have had a good Easter, Passover, or whatever holiday you celebrate.

This evening’s post, unfortunately, is starting on a sorrowful note. The reason for that is because I learned this week that a couple of people in a family who live in a house near mine lost their lives to COVID-19. As if I don’t already have enough reminders of how serious this pandemic is, I received yet another reminder this week. I don’t know when the two individuals passed away, but regardless, I keep these two individuals in my own thoughts and prayers.

This news also is a reminder of how fickle the pandemic can be. Nobody in my family has gotten COVID to our knowledge, yet we have people nearby who got COVID, and people nearby who even died of the pandemic. It’s so fickle that at this point I don’t know if it’s the strict following of public health precautions, dumb luck, or some combination of the two that has kept my family COVID-free. Personally, I think that it’s a combination of the two.

The other downer in the past week, albeit a downer in a different way, was the nature of the Easter Sunday holiday for me. Now, I went to church, but it was not like going to church on a regular Easter. I say that because I didn’t sing any hymns last Sunday, while in contrast I would passionately sing hymns on a regular Easter Sunday. I realize that from a COVID transmission standpoint, it was for the best that I didn’t sing, because droplets from your mouth travel much further when you sing than when you speak in a normal tone of voice. Yet, it it was still painfully difficult for me to abstain from singing–so much that I was in tears from resisting that temptation to sing the songs played on my church’s organ. While it was not as difficult as having to do Easter from home last year, it was challenging nevertheless.

The irony is that according to the church calendar of in the Catholic tradition and some other Christian religious traditions, we have just passed through Lent–a season that involves some form of sacrifice for many believers. And yet, even though the church calendar says that this season is over, emotionally and spiritually it feels like I haven’t even exited Lent 2020, even though Lent 2021 has already passed. I say this because the COVID-related sacrifices started in Lent 2020 and for me, at least, they haven’t stopped since then. I guess I can hope that the COVID situation turns around so that it spiritually feels like Easter by late summer? Fingers crossed.

On a different (and better) note, the test positivity rate for COVID in my neighborhood is at 8.2%, which is down from where it was last week. This seems to be bucking the trend (in a good way) compared to many parts of the United States, where COVID is again on the rise to the point that there is debate about whether there is now a fourth wave of the pandemic. This is also bucking the trend compared to the rest of New York City (at least at the moment), where the test positivity rate is stable.

The other positive piece of news is that vaccine distribution seems to be accelerating, to the point that 38% of adults in New York City have received at least one vaccine dose. As vaccine supply continues to expand, and as vaccine eligibility has expanded massively in the past couple of weeks (to the point that all New Yorkers 16 and older are now eligible for a vaccine), I trust that this number will go up even further. It is concerning, though, that there continues to be racial disparities in who is getting vaccinated–Blacks and Latinos are getting vaccinated at much lower rates than whites.

I know my post was a bit of a downer in parts today, but in spite of that, I do retain hope for better days ahead.

Coronavirus Update From New York City: April 1, 2021

Me after I got my first vaccine shot. This is not the best photo of me in the world, but in my defense, it was misty and windy, plus my glasses were fogged up.

Like with last week’s COVID Diary blog post, I have some big news to share!

The big news this week is that I have received my first COVID vaccine shot.

Literally the morning after I published my previous COVID update post, I was able to secure an appointment to receive my first shot of the Moderna vaccine. That appointment happened last Sunday.

Side effects were overall relatively minimal. My arm felt rather sore last Sunday evening and Sunday night, and felt a little sore last Monday. All that being said, the side effects of the first Moderna shot don’t seem any worse than side effects from many flu shots I’ve had over the years. That being said, I’ve heard that side effects from the second Moderna shot can sometimes leave someone feeling sick for a couple of days. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it though (a bridge I’ll get to on Sunday, April 25th, when I’m scheduled for my second vaccine shot).

Speaking of vaccines, vaccine eligibility is rapidly expanding in New York, to the point that everyone sixteen and older should be eligible for COVID vaccines by next week. Even if I weren’t obese, I’d be becoming eligible soon anyway. However, since I am obese, I was able to get the vaccine at least a couple of weeks before when I would have otherwise received it.

My younger brother is no longer in quarantine at college. He reported to me that the quarantine experience was not as bad as he had feared (I think he was expecting to be completely stuck in his room for a week). More importantly, though, he remains healthy.

The news in my neighborhood, on the other hand, is not quite as good. The test positivity rate is is up above 10% again, to 10.2%. Test positivity seem to have been see-sawing around 10% for the past few weeks–sometimes just above that mark, sometimes just below that mark.

In terms of my travel plans for Easter…I have none. I’m not fully vaccinated, and even if I were fully vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States is still recommending against domestic and international travel. I figure that the CDC has taken me this far without getting COVID (or at least COVID symptoms), so I’m not going to stop following their advice now.

That’s my update for this week. I hope others are well and safe, and I wish my readers a Happy Easter, or Passover, or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate!