Hot or not: COVID-19 vaccine

Olivia Bachar

The McLean County Department of Public Health is holding COVID-19 vaccine clinics at Grossinger Motors Arena which is located near downtown Bloomington.
Photo: Samira Kassem

Vaccinations against of COVID-19 are becoming available! As McLean county moved into Phase 1B+ of the vaccination program, more people became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Initially, I thought I was not eligible for the vaccine until I looked more closely at the rules and regulations for determining eligibility. After such extensive research, I found that I was actually eligible to receive the vaccine. 

McLean County health services offers both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines at this time, each or both on different days. I chose to book an appointment on a day where they were exclusively offering the Pfizer vaccine. 

Personally, although both vaccines have similar efficacy rates, I chose Pfizer due to it being the first approved for use in the United States. 

The actual process of my vaccination & the side-effects I have felt afterwards can be summed up in three words: odd, yet normal.

I arrived at my appointment and my friend/driver Abby walked up with me to the entrance. I must give a huge shoutout to her for answering all my questions, as she received her vaccine several days prior to me. 

Inside the Grossinger Motors Arena, I was greeted by military personnel who gave me some instructions and paperwork to fill out. 

The location was by far one of the oddest things about my vaccination. Whenever I have had vaccines in the past, it was at my doctor’s office or a pharmacy. But, for my COVID-19 vaccine, I was in a sports arena surrounded by the Illinois National Guard. 

After filling out some basic paperwork and waiting in a short line, I entered the actual arena to receive my vaccine. I walked through a yellow-arrowed line over to a small table labeled “H,” with the rest of the tables labeled with the rest of the alphabet. At the table,  a licensed practical nurse (LPN) asked me a few questions, then administered the shot to me. 

I felt the prick of the needle, then nothing. The actual vaccination was over in a flash. 

After that, the waiting game began, I had to sit for 15 minutes for side-effect observation. At first, I did not have any side-effects, but as time went on, my arm began to feel heavy. The best way to describe it would be how wearing a weighted-blanket feels, but isolated to your arm. 

By the time I returned to my dorm, about 30 minutes post-vaccination, I started to feel more side-effects. My arm no longer felt heavy, but I had a warm red rashy area around the injection site. Luckily, the redness and heat dissipated quickly. 

Unfortunately, I still had to deal with the side-effects I get with all vaccines–a sore arm. The first 24 hours after I got the vaccine were the worst in terms of soreness, it felt like I had overdone it at the gym. The soreness was an annoyance, but not painful enough to where I took any painkillers. Luckily, the soreness was pretty much gone by the 48 hour mark. 

In general, my experience receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was a good one. I look forward to receiving my second dose in April, though I have heard the side-effects may be worse or increased. But that does not matter, I am doing my part to help keep case numbers low and get things back to normal.

 Overall, I would rate my experience getting the COVID-19 vaccine 5 out of 5 stars. It was easy to book the appointment online and the vaccine was quick with few side-effects.

No matter where they go to get it, I encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine whenever they become eligible.