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The COVID Vaccine Flu; My Experience (Spoiler: It Sucks… But It Beats Dying)


Being an exceptionally healthy fellow, I anticipated an easy time of my first vaccine shot. After the first 24 hours, all I had was a bit of a sore arm. I figured I was in the clear.

I was mistaken.

I felt decent much of Saturday, riding 42 miles with friends in the morning and taking my mom to get her second shot, but as the day wore on, the vaccine caught up with me.

Sunday felt like I’d been hit by a linebacker (I almost went to get tested). I slept most of the day, taking in the neighborhood of five or six naps throughout. Monday was slightly better but I still felt run down and sore all over, though concentrating in the shoulders and I was exceptionally discombobulated. To give you an idea of how bad I was, for those who’ve been following this blog, it was almost 60 degrees (15 C) with a mild breeze, and not a cloud in the sky sunshine. I didn’t go for a bike ride. Monday, having been jabbed Friday evening, was day three. I showed up for work but left for home after 3-1/2 hours. I was too cooked. I napped a couple of times on getting home and spent the entire time on the couch, working or watching TV. I went to bed praying this funk would break overnight. I could only go three hours between Tylenol (one at a time) when my head hit the pillow.

And sure enough, it broke last night. The discombobulation is all but gone, though I’m still feeling worn out. There’s still some soreness, but I’m five or six hours between Tylenol now. I feel better with every passing hour… at least for the time being. With decently warm weather, but high winds in the forecast, I plan on riding tonight though I’m going to skip Lennon and ride by myself. I don’t need to push it that hard right now.

My experience follows a lot of reports. The vaccine either gets you on the first one or the second (sometimes not at all). Many of my friends experienced exactly what I’m reporting here. Now, in terms of actual sickness, how bad was it? Well, I had the flu a couple of years ago, whichever kind was going around, and that was much worse. The down-time was about the same, but with the vaccine flu, I didn’t actually feel sick. Just sore, discombobulated and extremely tired. Some report headaches and a fever, I experienced neither. In fact, my temp yesterday was a healthy 97.4 (36.333 C), my exact running temp, I don’t fluctuate more than a tenth or two either way.

For the record, I received the Moderna vaccine, though friends have reported the same symptoms and duration with Pfizer (without having to worry about a 3 to 4 hour erection – a little Viagra humor).

So, I was absolutely shocked I had such a tough time with the vaccine. I expected to fly through it. However I look at it, though, it sure beats getting the actual virus (or so I assume).

In a study of healthcare workers, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were 80% effective in preventing COVID after just the first shot. The success rate shot to 90% after the second. This is fantastic news, and according to the article I read (and linked) it was good to see that they used words like “immune”, not focusing on just “protection”. I’ve got a couple of friends who got their first shot shortly after my wife and I did (an hour or two later). We’re all going to get our second shot together and we’re making it a date and going out to dinner.

Normal is only a few months away, worldwide. Don’t let the doom and gloom bullshit get you down. When it’s your turn, get your shots and give a friend a hug. And don’t be afraid of the vaccine flu – getting the actual virus is worse.


26 Comments

  1. elisariva says:

    Happy you got it! I am getting my second shot of Pfizer this week. I recall reading earlier last year that you thought you may have been exposed to the virus. Did you ever get tested for antibodies? The reaction you had after the first shot is similar to what my friends had who already had Covid and their antibodies were reacting. Most who have not had the virus have a strong reaction after the second shot. Here’s to better days ahead!

    • bgddyjim says:

      Elisa, I thought I had it last March right before we got locked down – I actually took a few days off out of an abundance of caution and, just the day before I was set to come back, our Governor laid off 80% of the state. I never bothered getting tested for antibodies and I had the bug early enough they didn’t even have a test for it yet.

      Your comment makes a lot of sense, though. Thanks for sharing that.

  2. capejohn says:

    Happy endings are the best. I had my second Pfizer shot on Sunday with no side effects. Side effect or not. Getting the vaccination is like winning the lottery.

  3. paragvs says:

    Good to know you are doing well after the shot and will be fully protected in a couple more weeks. I got my second shot already and both the times, I only had sore arm and some fatigue on the following day. I was able to do indoor rides on the day of and the day after vaccination both the times. I guess different people get different severity levels of these side effects.

  4. Anthony says:

    I just got my shot yesterday. My arm is a little sore, but no other complaints yet.

  5. crustytuna says:

    I’m glad you’re still so positive on this. It’s so about the bigger picture! There was definitely a higher incidence of side effects like yours with the Moderna, but it’s a crapshoot in the end who’s going to get side effects and who won’t, but definitely higher likelihood you’d react if you think you might have actually had covid previously as mentioned above. Yay extra immunity?!
    Last time I had a reaction like yours was to the H1N1 vaccination, so with all the vaccinations I’ve gotten I think that’s a pretty good ratio of side effects to none…

    • bgddyjim says:

      For me, it’s all about freedom… and burning these freaking masks! I’ve had enough, my friend. I’ll do whatever I have to to get out from under the thumb.

  6. James L says:

    I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to getting to see people again. My fear of reaction to the jab puts me offer (I always suffer when I get the flu jab) but getting a sense of normality will be worth any horrible feeling.

  7. idlecyclist says:

    I’ve seen it theorised with the UK AZ vaccine that a reaction like yours may be indicative of an undiagnosed case of non symptomatic Covid. Not sure about Moderna or others. Glad you have recovered but it didn’t sound like much fun!

  8. dave talsma says:

    I felt crappy and sore for 2 days after my first moderna shot, and a low fever, could hardly raise my arm. And I had covid last November, sounds like you had similar reaction. my second shot is next week, I sure hope it goes well.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Dave, I’ve been hearing that if you have a bad reaction to the first shot, you should be good for the second. 🤞 I’m two weeks behind you.

  9. biking2work says:

    Glad that you’ve been vaxed and getting over the SEs. I had the Pfizer one 12 weeks apart. Both times, apart from a sore arm, I have been incredibly lethargic and really had to force myself (more than usual) to do stuff. Not fluey as such but no energy or motivation. Horrible

  10. […] The COVID Vaccine Flu; My Experience (Spoiler: It Sucks… But It Beats Dying) […]

  11. Glad you’re doing better. Had a sore arm both times. Second Moderna shot gave me nausea, body aches, and a heavy feeling in my head. Otherwise I was fine. 😁

  12. You are right about the facts!

  13. […] The COVID Vaccine Flu; My Experience (Spoiler: It Sucks… But It Beats Dying) […]

  14. Mr Shit50s says:

    Over here in the UK, it also seems that there’s a tale of two shots. My wife and I both felt moderately bad after our first – Astra Zeneca shot – but have heard from others that the second one is usually less challenging. Also, as the blog said (and like they say about old age) having a shot is crap, but better than the alternative!

  15. […] in the morning and I also have a 100km spin planned. I’m not sure about that now having read BgddyJim’s experiences post vaccine but as I still haven’t heard from the bike mechanic that decision may be made […]

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