My COVID-19 Vaccine Experience
Part 3 of our Vaccine Content Series
As COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue in the US Virgin Islands and across the globe, many are wondering what to expect when they receive their doses, or are trying to decide if they should get vaccinated in the first place.
We interviewed members of our team who have received the vaccine, and asked them to share a little bit about their experience before and after receiving it.
Kenisha Small, our Community Relations Manager (pictured above, left) and Deborah Ramsay of our Go Team (pictured above, right) were both vaccinated at the Island Health and Wellness Center on St. John in February.
Here’s what they had to say (responses have been edited for length and clarity):
Why did you choose to get the vaccine?
Deborah: I got the vaccine for three reasons: The work I do directly helping and speaking with St. John seniors; because my doctor advised that, since I am over 65, the possible side effects of the vaccine were likely much less severe than the side effects of getting COVID; and because my daughter and family said they would not want me traveling to visit them in the United States if I chose not to get the vaccine.
Kenisha: I got the vaccine to assist in keeping the seniors in my family and our community safe.
Did you have any fears or anxieties about getting the vaccine?
D: Yes! I am fairly anti-vaccine. I have never gotten a flu shot, for instance. I was concerned about the side effects and was unsure about how effective (the vaccine) might be.
K: I was more surprised at the fact that they had already created a vaccine for something so seemingly new.
What were some of the resources that you found helpful in answering questions about the vaccine? In other words, where or who did you turn to for information?
D: My daughter, the internet, friends, colleagues, and my doctor.
K: I turned to my coworkers at LCS for guidance and gaining knowledge to build my confidence; specifically our Operations Manager Stephen, who is also an EMT and our Executive Director, Meaghan.
Describe your experience getting the vaccine.
D: I went to Island Health & Wellness. We had to wait outside the office briefly. Once inside, there was a lot of paperwork to fill out. We were kept at a safe distance from each other. It took about 1/2 hour including filling out the paperwork and having to sit in the office for 15 minutes after getting the shot to observe us for possible immediate side effects. The shot took seconds and was hardly noticeable! And I HATE shots. They scare me and I can’t watch. But it happened so quickly I barely noticed!
K: I got an appointment at 2pm for the vaccine at Island Health and Wellness. The entire process took about 45 minutes to an hour, which included arriving early, waiting in line, and remaining for 15 minutes after receiving the shot. Process was simple, somewhat smooth and quick once inside.
Which vaccine did you get?
K: Pfizer. I’ve had my first dose and am due to receive the second dose on March 4th.
Did you experience any side-effects after your vaccine doses?
D: Yes. A slightly sore arm for a few days. The first night, it was hard to sleep on that side. After the first shot I felt a little sick that night and most of the next day. I had slight body aches, a bit of a headache, and low energy. After the second one, (I had) slightly less effects. Mostly just low energy.
K: I had a sore arm for a few days, and on the day of the shot I just felt lazy or sluggish afterwards; otherwise it went well!
What’s one thing you think that everyone getting the vaccine should know?
D: The shot itself is barely noticeable. At Island Health, they were very efficient. Plan to rest the day after!
K: From what I can tell, it’s safe!