What you should know before your AstraZeneca vaccination jab…

“Always remember your current situation is not your final destination. The best is yet to come.”

For me Saturday saw me have my COVID-19:vaccination jab. Like everyone else, I was counting the days until my (recently joined) age group was invited. Having made my appointment online, I rocked up at a currently-out-of-use entertainment venue in my local town.


The set up for the whole thing was utterly seamless; my appointment was at 08:50 and by 08:52 I was on my merry way, having had my arm punctured and the potentially lifesaving elixir deposited beneath. I wasn’t driving so I didn’t have to sit for the recommended 15 minutes in case of a reaction; bonus.


Now I’d heard anecdotal stories of people feeling ill after the jab. I’ve read the research that says women tend to be effected more by the vaccination than by men. Indeed the kindly nurse, Karen, told me that I may feel a bit unwell post vaccination, but that didn’t really prepare me for the wall that I hit about 6pm that same evening. And that very wall-hitting was what prompted me to write this blog, so that you guys can prepare yourself in a way that I hadn’t.

What to expect

Aches

About 10 hours after my jab the aches started. You know the kind you get when you have a cold or flu. To be honest I wasn’t sure if I’d been sitting around too much watching the Six Nations, but decided I hadn’t and this was the aches that kindly Karen mentioned.

Arm

The site of the injection will be sore and tender, and your arm will ache without a doubt. It’s perfectly normal, just to be sure have the jab in your non-dominant arm if you can.

Shivers

Then almost immediately the shivers started and I’d never felt so cold. I was wearing a vest top, a thick jumper and thick winter gilet INDOORS with the heating on and a blanket around me and I was still FREEZING. And I never feel the cold!

Temperature

As soon as I went to bed the temperature started. I was still a bit shivery, but more hot that shivery. My temp peaked about 100 and was on and off that for the next 24 hours. I slept with the windows open in March in the UK, where the air temp was about 5 degrees! My poor husband was freezing. To be honest it seemed like the usual night sweats experienced by a lady of my age were combining with the white blood cells doing their work from the vaccination into what can only be described as a thermite-style heat!

Headache

I’m not sure if the headache was due to dehydration from the temperature or it was induced by the vaccine, but the headache is one to watch. It’s just the dull cloudy always-there type, you know.

Nausea

This was something I wasn’t expecting. I really felt sick. I know people that have had COVID and they have mentioned feeling or being sick, but this was the kind of nausea where when you hear mention of food you feel very queasy. It didn’t help that the audiobook I was listening to was all talk of food!

Dry mouth

One of the first things I noticed after the shivers was the dry mouth. This was like nothing I’d experienced before. It was like there was actually no saliva in my mouth whatsoever. Like I’d been sleeping with my mouth open for an entire night!

Rapid heartbeat

Throughout the entire time my heartbeat was fast. It does say rapid heartbeat as a possible side effect, but when you’re lying down in bed trying to get to sleep having your heart pounding in your chest like you’ve just been chased by a bear or downed a Jagerbomb is rather disconcerting.

Tiredness

I don’t think I’ve ever slept as much as did during this time. It was as if I’d suddenly developed narcolepsy. I’d be awake and talking to my hubby, he’d go out of the room and bam I’d be asleep. It’s exactly as if I have the flu.

Skin smell

The one thing l’ve noticed since having the vaccine is that my skin smells like fake tan! It awoke me in the night having dreamed of fake tan, when I realised that it was actually the smell of my own skin that influenced my dream and woke me up.

Duration

Realistically, I felt really rough for about 30 hours after hitting “The Wall”. You’re told that up to 48 you can expect symptoms to develop and a further 48 hours to recover. To be honest, it is over as quickly as it starts and a MILLION PERCENT quicker than getting the virus!

Preparations to make

Paracetamol
I hate taking tablets at the best of times, but I am so glad I took paracetamol, it really did helped. Just make sure you follow the instructions on the packet and don’t exceed the dose.

Dioralyte

I had these in my medicine cabinet and was so happy to see these disgusting-tasting electrolyte-replacing drinks, because they certainly helped with the dehydration after the temperature.

Don’t worry about eating
If you don’t feel like eating then don’t, but do remember to drink plenty just like you would if you were ill. It’ll help with your recovery.

Jab planning
If you can plan your jab for a time that will allow you time to recover, the I recommend you do that. I’m so glad I had mine at the weekend, but it still meant that I had to take the Monday off from my day job. Ultimately, it depends how the vaccine effects you.

What would I liken my reaction to?

An extreme version of the flu, in an incredibly short sharp dose. And if this is just a taste of what having COVID-19 is like – without the added complications of a respiratory infection – then I am grateful for having it, reaction and all. And for the foreseeable I shall be continuing using my anti-bac gel, washing my hands frequently and wearing a mask in public places, for as long as it takes!

Don’t be put off by the media

I know that this is a serious post, but PLEASE DON’T BE PUT OFF BY IT or the media headlines. Anyone can Yellow Card a reaction they have to the vaccine and I have re the “dry mouth” as it wasn’t documented much. These reactions are over very quickly; and the whole reason I wanted to write about them is to share them, so that you guys are aware for when you have yours. And if you have any questions you want to ask me either write them in the comments below or DM me on my Instagram or Facebook accounts.

And finally, until we are rid of this virus, please please please follow the guidelines where you live, they’re there for a reason. Plus, I don’t want to lose any of my lovely followers.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS POST IS BASED PURELY ON MY OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT I WISHED I HAD KNOWN IN ADVANCE AND MY PERSONAL DECISIONS. FURTHER MORE IT IS IN NO WAY INTENDED TO INFLUENCE YOUR DECISION ON WHETHER OR NOT TO HAVE THIS OR ANY OTHER COVID VACCINE OFFERED TO YOU. IT IS ALSO NOT THE INTENTED TO PROMPT ANY CONVERSATION ABOUT THE VERACITY OF THE TESTING PROCESS INVOLVED NOR THE LONG TERM EFFECTS OF HAVING SUCH A VACCINE. IF YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS PLEASE SPEAK TO A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.