​My Experience Obtaining the COVID-19 Vaccine

Posted by Reeve Staff in Life After Paralysis on January 21, 2021 # COVID-19, Health

Being a C-5/C-6 quadriplegic, I have been extremely nervous about contracting COVID-19 since February 2020. In December, when the United States announced the emergency use authorization of COVID-19 vaccines, I was very excited. Since I am a quadriplegic and have reduced lung capacity, I am in the at-risk group, which was labeled 1B of the vaccine distribution phases. Texas announced that after January 1, they were going to start vaccinating the phase 1B group. I called two of my doctors: my family doctor and the doctor that helps with specific aspects of my spinal cord injury (SCI), such as the refill of my baclofen pump. Unfortunately, both doctors did not know exactly where to go to get the vaccine.I've had my covid-19 vaccine stickers

I then did what everybody probably does and Googled the COVID-19 vaccine in Tarrant County, Texas (which is the county that I live in). I found a list of places that were distributing the vaccine and (the most important thing) a sign-up for a waitlist for receiving the vaccine in the county. I immediately signed up to be on the waitlist; I also signed up my parents as they are both in their 70s. Even though I was on the waitlist, I still called the locations near me that were providing the vaccine to try to get in. Unfortunately, I had no luck and was going to have to wait. Five days after contacting my SCI doctor, I received an email from UT Southwestern, the hospital system that my SCI doctor is part of; in the email, they gave me instructions to make an appointment for the vaccine. I was lucky that I checked the email quickly; I made my appointment for January 7.

At the vaccination site, they had a waiting line set up. I filled out my name and address information. I did have to go through the regular Covid-19 protocol of taking my temperature and answering questions. Once through the protocol and registration, I waited about 10 minutes and then went into a little makeshift office with curtains; there was a row of 30 curtained offices that they were using to vaccinate individuals quite quickly. The doctor explained to me that I was getting the Moderna vaccine and that it should start taking effect almost immediately and the immunity will grow each day. I took the shot just like any vaccination shot or flu shot; it went in my upper left arm (I could’ve chosen either arm.) It didn’t hurt; it was just like any basic shot I’ve had.

After I received the vaccine, I had to go to a waiting room where a healthcare professional monitored me for 15 minutes to make sure that I didn’t have any adverse reactions. I had no adverse reactions; I felt fine. I wasn’t even sore in the arm even though in the past I’ve had soreness from flu shots. After waiting the 15 minutes, I went home and back to work. I felt fine that whole day and throughout the night. I have had no soreness or other side effects whatsoever (although this may not be everyone’s experience).

Getting the vaccine gave me a sense of feeling like I might be okay going on through this pandemic. Until my doctor tells me I’m safe, I will still practice Covid-19 precautions. I will still have my attendant wear her mask and wash her hands thoroughly to be safe. I have an appointment set up to get my second shot; five to six days after my second shot, I should be almost fully immune.

If anyone has any questions, please see the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation website for our up-to-date information on the COVID-19 vaccine.

-Written by TJ Griffin, Program Coordinator of the Reeve Foundation’s Peer & Family Support Program. For more information about our peer mentoring program, please go to www.ChristopherReeve.org/peer.

This project was supported, in part, by grant number 90PRRC0002, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.