True Story - I'm participating in a COVID-19 vaccine trial (Part 5: Second shot)

February 04, 2021
COVID-19 vaccine trial participant has blood drawn.
Nurse Donna Smith draws blood from Kelly Warren before Warren's second shot in the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial at MUSC.

Kelly Warren is a manager with MUSC’s Enterprise Campaigns and University Communications. Warren volunteered to be a participant in the MUSC/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial. She shares her experiences so that others might also feel comfortable receiving the vaccine. This is part four. Read part one here. Read part two hereRead part three here. Read part four here.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly three months since I received my first injection as a participant in the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial. Then, almost a month later, I received my second dose. With new vaccine trials gearing up at MUSC, the vaccine rollout underway and people still wondering if they should receive it, I’m sharing another journal entry to help to encourage people to take their shot. 

Dec. 3, 2020: Today, I am headed back to campus for my second injection.

Truthfully, I think I’m more nervous this time than I was for the first visit. On one hand, it’s nice to know what to expect from the visit and what it’s like to feel some side effects. On the other, it wasn’t a very fun post-shot evening last time, and I don’t really want to feel crummy again. 

COVID-19 trial participant Kelly Warren gets a shot of what could be the AstraZenaca vaccine. 
Warren gets her second shot. She doesn't know if it's the vaccine or a placebo.

I’ve done some research, and it seems like more people were symptomatic after the second shot than the first. I’m not sure if this means I was an outlier with my experiences after the first visit, if I should expect a similar experience after round two or if I’m just overthinking this and there’s no way of knowing what will happen. 

I have a feeling it’s the latter, and I guess we will find out soon!

After the appointment

Injection number two is done and floating around in my body… or however it is the vaccine moves around. This appointment was not as long as the first one but did follow some of the same steps. We began by going over my medical history again and focusing on how I’ve felt over the past month. I haven’t been worried about the symptoms I experienced after the first shot, but it was reassuring to hear again that my response was very normal.

After the paperwork was complete, the next stop was the blood draw. Once again, the nurse did a great job, and I had no pain with the stick or draw. After collecting the blood, with fingers crossed for antibodies in it, they did a nasal test. I’m honestly still not sure what it’s for, I just know it’s testing something, and I’m glad it isn’t as painful as a COVID-testing swab.

Everything was looking good, so it was on to the last stop – shot time. The nurses geared up in PPE, and one quickly administered it. Once again, it hurt a little bit, similar to the flu vaccine. I waited around after the shot for 15 minutes. When there were no immediate side effects, I was cleared to leave, wait and watch to see what would happen.

Fingers crossed for no symptoms this time, but I won’t lie. I am a little on edge and really hoping that I don’t have a repeat of last time. It wasn’t the worst thing ever, and I feel a little bit like a wimp, since it was brief and mild, but I would really prefer not to feel crummy. There’s nothing I can do about it either way, though, so here’s hoping!

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