The Covid-19 Jab

When I started Jbinnacle in 2012 it was to be a play by play for what I thought would be the trip of a lifetime, something I would never be able to repeat. But it turned out that stars aligned and it could happen again. Slowly, I started filling the page with other places and trips. When the Covid pandemic brought everything to a screeching halt, I wrote my first meta post as a way of mourning I guess. I also used the “downtime” to reconstruct other trips retroactively and I placed them in the right chronological order. Everything felt… unreal, and in a way it still does. Over a year later, I bring you a second meta post (and I swear, I’m not trying to make a habit out of that), because it will affect travel in the future, I guess.

When I got the call for the vaccine, they were not vaccinating my age group where I live, not yet. However, there seemed to be a large number of people who are rejecting their immunisation. And thus, some vaccination sites were asking medical personnel to reach to people they know in order to use up the rejected doses before they become useless. I received one of these calls on Tuesday the 15th of June to see if I was willing to take a Pfizer dose. The answer was “hell yes” – I’m not trying to make anything political out the statement. I believe it was the right thing to do.

The first dose

My appointment was at 11 am on Wednesday the 16th of June. I arranged things at work so I could just run to the centre and get the vaccine. And…well, it happened.

I arrived at the healthcare centre (not the mass vaccination site as this was a ‘scrap’ vaccination) and was asked to wait outside. A queue formed and it seemed that everybody around had been referred by someone in the healthcare centre. I talked to the nurse who had called me and thanked her and was sent in after a minute, with a note to come back on the 7th of July for the second dose. As I had to go back to work I asked for the inoculation to be on the left arm.

The nurse who had to vaccinate me agreed, but he told me the next one would have to be on the right – that was all right by me, as I won’t have to work that week. As he was explaining the potential discomfort associated to the jab I might experience, I paid attention to him – and I did not really feel the needle go in. Like seriously nothing. If not for the tiny drop of blood that there was on the gauze, I would not have believed that I got jabbed!

Spoiler: I have not become magnetic, achieved better connection to the Internet, started glowing in the dark nor any of the things the cool kids are reporting.

After the jab, I had to wait for 15 minutes (16, actually) to make sure that I did not have an immediate reaction, and I did feel a bit dizzy for a spell, but bluntly put, that must have been the 30ºC and the fact that I had completely forgotten to drink anything at work beforehand. At least it disappeared when I downed half a bottle of water afterwards.

I was expecting a strong reaction to the vaccine because I’ve had them before, but aside from a bit of queasiness, I was fine. The arm did not swell or become too painful, only if I forced it up, it was tight. I felt hot and tired towards the end of the evening. I had a paracetamol with dinner and went to bed early. The next day I took another paracetamol with breakfast and went to work – completely functional and feeling fine.

The second dose

I got this on the 7th of Julyヽ(^◇^*)/. I arrived at the healthcare centre at around 10:45, and joined the queue outside, under the sun, and not a cloud in the sky. I had to wait for around 20 minutes and finally I got my second jab on the right arm – this time I did feel the vaccine going in, but there was nothing to report at the time – 11:11 h, exactly the same time as the first shot. I went home and showered after the 15 minutes in observation.

The arm pain crept up slowly, more spread but less intense than the first dose. I could raise it up without much bother and after 9 hours or so I felt tired. The night, however, was patchy. I had a few tenths of a degree of a temperature, did not sleep well, and vomited at 4 am, and throughout the next day I felt tired and headachey. That might have been the vaccine or the bad night, but I started feeling better in the afternoon – at that point we were in El Campello, so I guess the walk on the beach help.

A bit more long-term consequences included a bump on the arm, that felt a little like a bruise, and sunlight / sun lotion / sweat sensitivity that made me itchy all over – no, not a sunburn. Just my immune system going hyper-vigilant, apparently. The peak of the sunlight itching came on the 11th, when I was at the beach, and took a couple of days to go away. I used to have those reactions when I was younger but they’ve been gone for years.

Spoiler (2): I still have not become magnetic, achieved better connection to the Internet, started glowing in the dark!

The certificate

The area where I live started offering the digital certificate just a few days after I received my first dose – the service was implemented throughout the weekend of the 19th/20th. However, my data seemed to have been lost somewhere along the way and I kept getting an error for days. I actually checked a couple of times per day every day just to see when the documentation became effective. The first dose was recorded on Saturday the 3rd of July, just five days before the second dose. The certificate read my data, the vaccination detail and the fact that it was the first dose out of two.

After that, I could access the system regularly – which I did every day for a while. Then the system collapsed when it was open to 20-somethings. And finally, on the 20th of July, one day before the two-week immunity period came through… I got my certificate.

What does this all mean

Covid is not going away, I fear. It is running rampart and out of control in way too many areas not to mutate. I want, however, to have a little hope. The only event that was on my list of 2020 cancelled items that is still standing is Saint Seiya Symphonic Adventure in Paris. I booked the tickets today (the airline vouchers are only good till the end of the year) and got a hotel (Edit: In the end, this happened in May 2022). Honestly, I don’t think that a few hours in a plane and / or a theatre are going to carry a bigger risk that what I have to do at my day job these days, and I’ve gotten pretty used to FFP2 masks for hours on end…

But for now, just a couple of days driving (and hiking) around Spain and areas where I don’t expect many tourists…