Immunocompromised endures vaccine reaction

While fever, chills, tiredness, muscle pain, nausea, and headaches are all possible side effects of the second dose of all the vaccines, my experience was intensified because I am immunocompromised. 

I felt that it was more necessary for me to be vaccinated since I have IBD Ulcerative Colitis. Despite the risk of intensified side effects, I wanted to be safe for myself and for my community.

My vaccination experience started Sunday, April 25, when I received my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Wolstein Center.

My first vaccine was Sunday, April 4, in which I only had a sore arm as a side effect.

When I received the second vaccine, however, I mentally prepared for the worst. I knew that I am more prone to symptoms because I am immunocompromised from my IBD Ulcerative Colitis and from taking steroids for my flare up.

My gastroenterologist and pediatrician highly encouraged me to get the Pfizer vaccine because it would protect me from the possibility of getting the coronavirus, which could worsen my symptoms from my IBD.

I felt more protected from symptoms because I had my Remicade infusion the previous week on Wednesday, April 21.

I got my second shot at 9:30 a.m. and only had soreness and a little tickle at the back of my throat at first. 

I didn’t start showing any symptoms and was feeling completely fine until after my nap around 5:30 p.m.

When I woke up from the nap, I felt like I was in a different world. I felt a little nauseous, my head felt heavy, and I felt out of place.

I ate dinner and then started to feel cold chills. I bundled up with slippers and extra blankets. 

I went to bed, exhausted, already feeling like I wouldn’t go to school the next day. 

I woke up at the time I normally would for school, but had a horrible headache, my body was weak, and I felt extremely warm. 

I told my mom how I felt and went back to sleep for a few hours. The headache had subsided a little bit when I woke, but I had horrible aches and constantly felt warm. Yet when I took off any layers, I would start feeling extremely cold. 

I drank a lot of water and ate bland foods, like chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese, to make sure my stomach didn’t have any worsening symptoms. 

I rested the whole day and after school. My friends — junior Noor Chima and sophomore Claire Mitchell — brought me a Pulp smoothie to make me feel better. 

The side effects slowly subsided through the evening and I went to bed early. 

The next day I felt mostly fine except a little out of place from having a day or two of sickness. 

Overall, the side effects weren’t terrible because I mentally prepared for the worst. I’m grateful that my IBD symptoms didn’t worsen from getting the vaccine.

I am happy now to be fully vaccinated to protect myself and the people around me, and to see other people take advantage of the opportunity to be vaccinated.