My COVID-19 Vaccine Story


Gia Shin, Staff Writer

“How was your previous shot?” the nurse sweetly asked as she prepared the needle.

“It was fine, no side effects,” I replied.

“Good. Then this one should be fine too.” She rubbed my arm with a swab of alcohol and injected the needle.

I trusted her, but little did I know she would get it all wrong.

When my parents got their COVID-19 vaccines before me, I knew from the start that the second dose would hurt. My dad experienced jarring body aches in his sleep, while my mom was sick in bed the entire day.

“But it all went away after 24 hours,” they said.


The universe was foreshadowing my misfortunes before I even got the shot when I almost arrived at the clinic without my vaccination card. It was 4:39 pm on a Friday—the last slot—and my appointment was in one minute. My dad hastily took a detour and sped through the lights. At the same time, I called my brother to deliver my card; he rushed upstairs to rummage through my cluttered room and met me with the record card just as my dad pulled into the driveway. It was an intense relay race against time.

We arrived at the clinic and joined the long, snaking line of people who were anticipating the first step to set them free from the isolating world of masks and social distancing. As the line shrank, it was finally my turn. I didn’t feel any pain as the nurse injected the needle. In fact, I didn’t feel any symptoms for the rest of the day. And I drifted off into dreamland with puppies and sparkly rainbows in mind… until I jolted awake at four in the morning with a runny nose.

I’ve been told that getting your second dose in peak allergy season is one of the most irritating feelings you could put your body through.

Thankfully, my mom forced me to take ibuprofen the night before. Well, not that it had much of an effect. I couldn’t eat breakfast, but after much nagging from my parents, I forced myself to swallow a few measly spoonfuls of soup. I had a long day ahead of me, from cramming for my upcoming AP test in a few days to swimming through piles of schoolwork and extracurricular time commitments. That morning, I was supposed to lead a Zoom meeting at 10 a.m. I sat at my desk and began to open up my laptop when I suddenly felt like all the negative side effects of the vaccine were slammed into my head with a sledgehammer. I immediately shut my laptop and rolled into bed, pulling the sheets over my head.

At noon, I woke up from my nap and decided to eat lunch, feeling more clear-headed. Now, if you know anything about me, you would know that I despise being disorganized. As a Capricorn, if one thing in my schedule goes wrong, especially if it’s in the morning, I feel as if my entire day was wasted and my hopes for the day come crashing down. Usually, on Saturday mornings, I would vacuum my room and wipe down my desk, then attend Zoom meetings, then get started on some homework before having lunch. That particular day after my second dose marked the first day I ever slept through my morning routine. And I felt terrible.

After lunch, I went to violin lessons. With All-State Orchestra auditions less than two weeks away, my teacher held high expectations. Clearly, I did not meet them. Every time I lifted my arm to support the instrument, searing pain ripped through my upper arm. Throughout the lesson, she repeatedly asked me if I was alright. Maybe my yeses weren’t convincing enough, or maybe I just played so horribly that my teacher ended the lesson early.

When I got back home, I made an effort to get my day together. I planned out a thorough schedule for the rest of my day. However, it all fell to ashes when I made one major mistake: I went on TikTok. I knew what I was getting into—doom scrolling was not a new phenomenon for a chronic procrastinator like me. My finger mindlessly scrolled past one video, then two, then three… until an hour passed before I knew it. Then two hours. Then three. The voice in my head was throwing a tantrum at this point, telling me to exit the app and shut off my phone. But my eyes were glued to the screen, and my limbs did not budge. That is until one video shattered the emotions I tried so hard to numb by watching TikTok. In the video, the user made half a heart with her right hand and the text, “If you’re having a tough time right now, it’s okay” or something along those lines was written on the screen. Any other day I read this, I would’ve smiled and scrolled through. But at that moment, I broke down in tears and recorded myself crying (as any Gen Z-er would do). I uploaded the video on TikTok, then deleted it within minutes after realizing how much I would regret posting myself ugly-cry if I were to look back at the video in a few days.

Inevitably, I went to bed early after wasting the entire day. But I tossed and turned in bed, kicked my covers, rotated 180 degrees, and could not find peace because I had a fever. No puppies or dancing rainbows visited my dreams that night. I woke up once again at four in the morning.

Thankfully, my symptoms disappeared after the horrors of that first day. I’m feeling great, and I recently had my first in-person gathering with ten others who were also vaccinated. If you’re afraid of experiencing excruciating pain after your shot, remember that the pain of contracting COVID-19 is worse than one bad day.