Fever, nauseous, dizziness, and fatigue. Aches, pains, sweats, and chills. I lay down on the bed the night I got the second shot of mRNA vaccine, exhausted but widely awake. I tossed and turned in the bed, kicking off blankets as a wave of hot flashes swept through my body, only to seek warm covers to protect me from a cold snap attack a minute later. It seemed that the shot packed such a heavy punch on my health wellbeing that within a few hours, I reduced from a happy, healthy person to a pain-struck and weary soul. Agony and insomnia cast doubt over my decision to get vaccinated, prompting a mind-boggling question: Does the suffering worth it?
But I quickly eased my qualms out of beliefs that the side effects I was suffering were short-lived and would soon disappear on their own. The wave of inflammation elicited by the immune system reaction would fade as the antibody's protection built up. According to CDC information, side effects leading to long-term health problems are implausible. Among the millions Americans under the most intense safety monitoring after getting the mRNA shot, no long-term side effects have ever been detected.
Putting the side effects I was suffering into perspective had offered more mental relief as they paled in comparison to the debilitating Covid symptoms. Horror stories from friends infected with Covid painted a haunting picture of what they went through. Apart from aches and fatigues, headaches, and chest pain, the struggled breathing that caused low-oxygen levels was the most unbearable, taking a toll on body organs and imposing life-threatening risks. Moreover, the terrible disease not only inflicts damages on the infected but also haunts its survivors. According to a US study tracking two million Americans who contracted Covid last year, about a quarter of them have suffered post-Covid health problems not diagnosed with before the Covid infection -- from breathing difficulties and nerve pain to high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure.
"Had it not for my two young kids, I would have given it up fighting already "said a friend of mine in describing her nightmare experience of Covid's hospitalization. "You don't want to go through it, and nobody wants to."
The strong protections that two doses of vaccine provided had reassured me that I did the right thing to get the shots. A none-fully-vaccinated person faces an increased risk of the Delta variant – the most transmittable and deadly form of Covid virus. As the population increasingly gets vaccinated, the unvaccinated community is the priority target of the Delta variant, which continues to gain ground in Canada.
Health England's study has found that two doses of Pfizer vaccine remain 87.9% effective in preventing Delta variants infection—despite a moderate reduction from the 93.4% effectiveness against Alpha variant. Even in vaccine breakthrough cases, the shots would help reduce the symptoms and disease suffering significantly. As a result, the vaccine showed its high efficacy against hospitalization – the most severe endpoints by Delta variants, with an efficacy of 94% and 96% after the first and the second dose, respectively.
Getting two shots of the vaccines would offer me the long-term benefits far outweigh its temporary pain and suffering caused by its short-term side effects. The inner peace of mind put my racing thoughts at ease as I experienced a more relaxed night and anticipated many better days to come.
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