Did you know if you are 16 or up you can get the Pfizer Coronavirus vaccine? We interviewed a 16 year old from Chicago who just recently got her first shot of the vaccine. She asked to remain anonymous, so we've left her name out. Below is a summary of the main takeaways that we thought you should know about the vaccination experience!
How did you feel going up to the vaccination day?
"I had a lot of anxiety, I think generally speaking I'm an anxious person. But the appointments don't become available until a couple days before so I didn't have a lot of time to prepare. Also, because i'm only 16, I could only get the Pfizer vaccine. That meant that I might have not even been able to get the vaccine if they had run our of Pfizer within the days between my appointment and me booking it. Theres a 50/50 chance of if they have enough vaccinations left for my appointment, so I was nervous to see if I would even be able to get my shot. So I really had a lot of anxiety about whether I would be able to get it or not or if I would have an allergic reaction."
What were you the most the nervous about?
"I think I was most nervous about having a bad reaction to the vaccine. Even though I'm not allergic to the medicine itself, I do have a lot of other allergies that still freak me out. I was also nervous about getting sick afterwards, but I really only had a sore arm for a few days.
Im still nervous for the second shot. Especially because younger patients have a worse reaction, I'm still worried I might get sick from the second dose. For example, a family friend of mine was sick in bed for days after the second shot."
What was your reaction like?
"20 minutes after I started feeling very minor soreness, like as if I got hit in the shoulder by someone. Very minimal. As the day went on, it started to be a lot more sore, like a bruise. I also just couldn't sleep that night, especially because I sleep on the side and my arm was really sore. The next day after that I also had a lot of on and off shooting pain. It was pretty painful, but really not that bad. I took some Tylenol and still went to school the next day."
How has your life changed since getting the vaccine?
"Internally I feel a lot safer. I feel like I personally can do a lot more normal activities, but I still have to stay cautious for other people. There are still millions of Americans who haven't gotten their vaccines, and we have to still wear masks and take precautions to protect those people. There is a responsibility that comes with getting vaccinated, and I still have to use the precautions I have been following the past year to keep my friends and family safe."
What advice would you give to another teen getting vaccinated?
"Don't do as much research on the vaccine as I did. Especially at 2 in the morning the night before. I learned from experience. I'm obviously not the only kid who has anxiety, but the articles really freaked me out for the shot. It's important to be researched, but not to the point that it freaks you out for something that is super safe and scientifically tested to help people. I would say that its very normal to be scared about side effects, but that a lot of research has gone into the vaccines and that we are really really lucky to be getting them this early on in the pandemic."