AstraZeneca vaccine dose 1 aftermath

by - August 12, 2021

I've been lucky enough to be COVID-adjacent for most of the past year and a half, going through lockdowns and closures and restrictions without drama beyond postponing or cancelling plans. But this most recent lockdown has been COVID-ful. Lockdown began like any other with the cancelling of plans and working for half the weekend instead to be productive... and then we got our first vaccinations, learned Boyfriend Pham had been in a close contact hotspot, went to a 24-hour testing clinic that just opened up in 8 Miles Plains, and got our negative results but still need to quarantine for a few more days.

The bright side of this latest lockdown is that AstraZeneca has been made readily available from GPs, and now I hear local pharmacies too. The tune has changed around not wanting anyone under 60 to have AZ. Boyfriend Pham and I booked in with the GPs for our first doses mid-week and, boy, was that a mistake. They do warn you that there are some side-effects for 24-48 hours, but really the messaging should be prepared to be out of action for 24-48 hours. 

I guess I'm writing this post so you're prepared if you choose to vaccinate with AstraZeneca. Please stock up on ibuprofen (we had Nurofen but any brand of ibuprofen will do) in case you need it. Not everyone's immune system responds the same way. From the six friends I've heard from since sharing my experience, the symptoms are exhaustion through to flu-like symptoms and lasts for half a day to the full two days.

So what did Boyfriend Pham and I experience? Immediately after the vaccine, we felt fine. I drove us home and we went back to work. About an hour later I started feeling flushed, my forehead was starting to burn up so I popped some panamax (not strong enough, it turns out) and kept working. After work, I walked the whole two metres from the dining table to our couch and felt utterly depleted of energy. Boyfriend Pham was still going strong. He played Xbox games while I played braindead.

When bedtime rolled I crawled into bed in a tee and Boyfriend Pham screamed 'cause my hands and feet were freezing. I couldn't tell my body was cold because my head was still on fever fire. So I got back out of bed, put on pants, a jumper and fuzzy socks and climbed back into bed. This time no matter how I curled up I couldn't get warm. I quietly suffered on my own until around 8.5 hours after our shot, Boyfriend Pham suddenly dropped off a cliff. 

He too started burning up and feeling freezing cold. He spent the next few hours physically shaking because his body was so cold. Eventually we fell asleep I think for about 1.5 hours then he got up to go to the bathroom, and I got up to get water because I'd sweated myself into dehydration even though I still didn't feel warm. We spent another few hours suffering before exhaustion put us to sleep for another hour. By morning I'd already told my boss I wasn't going to make it work work at my dining table that day. Instead, we spent the day on the couch feeling sick and sorry for ourselves. 

I can't even remember what we ate that day but I didn't have much appetite. Me! Yeah, I know, it means I was super sick. I had enough brain power for a family-friendly Disney movie. By 4pm, about 26.5 hours after our shots, Boyfriend Pham was able to get off the couch. I could shuffle about but I dreaded the thought of doing anything as focussed as cooking dinner. Instead, we ordered fish & chips and Boyfriend Pham drove us to collect it. I mainly ate chips 'cause the fish was too rich. We went to bed exhausted but at least we could feel the warmth of two blankets this time. The next morning, we woke up and it was like the last 30 hours hadn't happened. 

I'm told the second dose of AstraZeneca doesn't trigger any reactions. I have the day off work anyway to either stay home and feel sick or just to have a long weekend to celebrate my 100% vaccinated status. Good luck to anyone getting vaccinated, and good on you!

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