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My COVID-19 vaccine experience: How it started. How it’s going.

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  • Written By: Sanjay Raman, RN, Children's Hospital Emergency Room
My COVID-19 vaccine experience: How it started. How it’s going.

Let me introduce myself.

My name is Sanjay, and I’m a registered nurse in the emergency room at Children’s Hospital New Orleans.

I’m passionate about these vaccines because I don't want to contract the disease and bring it to work or back home to my own son, who just turned three. I want to encourage everyone to get the vaccine when it's available to you. It’s something you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Together, the combination of a high vaccination rate and continuing to practice COVID-19 safety protocols is what’s going to get us back to life as we love living it.

How it started.

I got my first dose of the vaccine in mid-December and the second dose three weeks later. I had a bit of arm soreness where I got the shot, which started about 24 hours after receiving it. I personally didn’t have to take anything, but Motrin and Tylenol can help if you experience injection-site soreness.

When I got the second dose of the vaccine, I experienced more arm soreness, but that was all. It came on a little quicker than with the first dose, and it was still fairly sore for the next 24 to 48 hours. It’s been about two weeks since getting my second dose, and I feel fine.

How it’s going.

I’ll be honest. Not everyone experiences the same thing.

Some people have experienced arm pain and swelling, a low-grade fever, chills, fatigue, or a headache. If you have any of these side effects, stay hydrated, rest, and take care of yourself. These side effects should go away within 24 hours.

The most severe reaction we’ve been looking for is anaphylaxis. This is a type of allergic reaction where your throat closes up, so at LCMC Health, we have EpiPens and Benadryl for anyone who might need them. We also monitor you for 15 to 30 minutes after giving you the shot, and we provide you with information to take home. If you leave and have a severe reaction, you should call 911.

Hear from Sanjay, Pediatric Emergency RN at @CHNOLA, about why he got the #COVID19 vaccine & how he’s feeling.

Vaccine FAQs at

— NOLA Ready (@nolaready) December 18, 2020

What’s next?

This is really important: You are not fully vaccinated until seven days after your second dose. Until you get the second dose of the vaccine, you need to remain vigilant to avoid getting

COVID, but you also need to remain vigilant after getting vaccinated because there’s a chance you could still spread the virus to others who aren’t yet vaccinated.

Because I had both doses of the vaccine in December 2020, I now have 95% efficacy of not getting sick, but to protect others, I haven’t changed my habits at all. I’m still:

  • Social distancing
  • Wearing my mask
  • Washing my hands

I think of this vaccine as an extra tool of protection right now.

What do we know about COVID-19 and the vaccines?

What we do know is these vaccines are safe and effective. So while the vaccines are approved only for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they’re considered safe to combat this disease.

Additionally, some people who have been vaccinated, including me, signed up for the v-safeSM program from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. We’re giving the CDC information about our side effects to help the FDA with official approval.

There are a limited number of vaccines available, so we’re trying to vaccinate people at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19. The phase we’re in now is to immunize those over the age of 70 because they have a higher risk of having complications from COVID-19. We’re hoping the vaccines will be available to the general public sometime in early summer, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.

Make plans to get vaccinated when the time comes

I’ve been volunteering for the last month to vaccinate my colleagues at Children's Hospital New Orleans because I want to be a part of getting us through this pandemic. The vaccine will protect you from getting COVID-19, which is the most important point. Any minor side effects are well worth the reward.

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, visit