In the past few months, you have probably heard from teachers, friends, and family members who have gotten vaccinated. Maybe you’ve even gotten poked yourself—but what does that mean for you now? What does getting vaccinated look like? These questions and more will be answered with help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Types of COVID vaccines:
The CDC* does not recommend one vaccine over another, and asserts that all vaccines are safe, effective, and reduce your risk of having severe illness from COVID-19. None of the vaccines are officially approved by the FDA, but all have been authorized for emergency use.
The Pfizer (pronounced “fye-zuhr”) is approved for individuals 16 years and older, which is good news for early college students. Side effects should only last for 1–2 days, and might include pain, redness, and swelling in your shot arm, and tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea in your body. WARNING: You should NOT get this vaccine if you have had severe allergic reactions to any of the ingredients in this vaccine (listed HERE).
The Moderna vaccine is approved for individuals 18 years and older. Side effects are the same as the Pfizer-BioNTech. WARNING: You should NOT get this vaccine if you have had severe allergic reactions to any of the ingredients in this vaccine (listed HERE).
Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen
This vaccine has been approved for individuals 18 years and older. Side effects are the same as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. This vaccine was paused earlier in April, but has since been allowed to resume as of April 23, 2021. The CDC cautions, “However, women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after vaccination, and that other COVID-19 vaccines are available where this risk has not been seen.” You can find the full statement HERE. WARNING: You should NOT get this vaccine if you have had severe allergic reactions to any of the ingredients in this vaccine (listed HERE).
How Many Shots Do I Need?
Many people have safety concerns regarding what is in the vaccine, and what the vaccines can do to their bodies. The CDC writes on their Myths & Facts page that the COVID-19 vaccines:
Can I Party Yet?
It is recommended that most gatherings remain outdoors, especially with unvaccinated people. Once you’ve been vaccinated the CDC says you can:
What Aren’t They Telling Me?
The CDC is still figuring out some things, like whether or not the vaccines can adequately fight new variants, how effective they are for immunocompromised people, how long they are effective for, and how well they prevent those vaccinated from spreading COVID-19. Unfortunately, they don’t have all the answers yet. But, as previously stated, they are certain that the vaccines are safe, effective, and reduce your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
As a remote student, I got vaccinated at a CVS Pharmacy in my small California town. As a 17-year-old, I received the Pfizer. I scheduled both my appointments online through the CVS website. The day of, I showed up at my selected time and waited in line until that time slot was called. Then they gave me a vaccination card (which is important not to misplace) and ushered me back to the pharmacy where I sat down in one of two cordoned-off chairs, with screens in between for privacy. The man administering my vaccine walked me through a short questionnaire, which included asking if I’d had any COVID-19 symptoms in the last two weeks. He let me choose my preferred arm, then gave me the shot before I could blink. (He gave me the vaccine using a retractable needle, so if those freak you out you might want to ask for a regular one, if it is an option.) Yes, it did hurt, and yes, my arm was extremely sore for about two days after. I had only a mild headache and nausea, which also subsided after about two days. After my shot they had me sit and wait for 15 minutes to monitor me for any allergic reactions before sending me home. In a few weeks I’ll return with my vaccine card for my second dose.
Your experience will likely be different from mine depending on your home state or country, where you receive the vaccine, what vaccine you receive, and what your underlying health conditions are.
*Unless otherwise stated, all information listed is taken from the CDC website.
Nad Messmer is a sophomore at Simon's Rock and Frequent Contributor to The Weekly Cad.