Thanks, Science!

On March 20th, Anthony and I each had our first Moderna vaccines for COVID-19.

We both had a sore arm starting about 6-12 hours later and that lasted for a day or two. Other than that, I don’t think we experienced any other effects, no headache, fatigue, or anything else out of the ordinary.

On April 17th we received our second Moderna vaccines for COVID-19. So as of May 1st (2 weeks later) we are considered fully vaccinated aside from any boosters we may need later on down the road.

After the second dose, I had a pretty sore arm for a few days, felt maybe 5% crummy from 12-24 hours afterwards, but after that was fine.

Anthony had more of the rough side effects we’ve all been hearing about: sore arm (though less sore than mine, he says), muscle aches, fatigue, chills and some lightheadedness. That started about 12 hours after the vaccine and lasted for about 2-3 days for him.

So, now that we’re vaccinated will we be…

Shopping maskless? Nope.

Traveling by plane? Nope.

Attending large gatherings? Nope.

We won’t be doing any of these things until transmission rates for COVID-19 are much much lower.

No vaccine on the face of this earth is 100% effective in the real world, the COVID-19 vaccines are no exception. These vaccines all do a great job of reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19, and in the event that you still do contract it then it does a great job of keeping you out of the hospital.

While COVID-19 transmission rates are still pretty high, that means we’re more likely to be exposed and our immunity will be put to the test regularly. This is before we even consider the variants that are already widespread and that the vaccines may be less effective at curbing.

So it’s important to us to remain vigilant and continue to protect ourselves and our family by wearing masks, avoiding unnecessary travel, and socially distancing any time we can.

Then what do we get out of being vaccinated?

Well, for starters by being vaccinated we’re at much lower risk of catching COVID-19. If we do still catch COVID-19, we’re at very low risk of having severe effects or being hospitalized. That’s great news for us, especially considering Anthony has asthma!

By being vaccinated, we also have less chance of transmitting COVID-19 to others in our community and that’s a benefit everyone should enjoy.

We’ll continue to follow CDC guidelines as we navigate the next few months and so on. For example, we have several friends and family members that have been vaccinated, so we’ll be able to enjoy very small, limited gatherings with them. I also recently went for a manicure and pedicure for the first time in over a year (everyone was fully masked, there was plexiglass between the manicurist and myself, etc.), it was amazing.

But hold up, Willa hasn’t been vaccinated yet.

Pfizer announced just the other day that they plan to apply for emergency use authorization for kids 2-12 years old in September! This is a lot sooner than we were hoping and expecting, some very welcome news in our household (and with all our friends with kiddos around the same age) since Willa turns 2 in mid-August.

I want to say a special thanks to many families who have enrolled their children in the COVID vaccine trials to help make this possible (hat tip to our coworker Pam and her triplets!). Disclaimer: We pre-registered Willa in the trials, but the trial locations are not very local (a few hours each way) and Anthony was not on board in the end.

We’ll definitely be getting Willa vaccinated as soon as we can, but for now while she can’t wear a mask and transmission rates are high, this leaves us in a place where our own vaccination status doesn’t allow for a free-for-all.

And for those who have noticed or are wondering: Yes, we have been sending Willa to daycare 4 days a week since the summer. This is out of necessity as we are both full-time working parents without others to help care for Willa as we work. We delayed her starting daycare for several months in the Summer of 2020, but at this point we both need to work and cannot do that with her home full time.

Thankfully our daycare has COVID precautions in place such as everyone over the age of 6 being required to wear a mask along with many of the teachers and staff having already been vaccinated. Willa sees the same teachers and classmates every day, so that limits exposure as much as possible. They close down classrooms if there is exposure from any of the families, following guidance from VDH. There have been a few times that Willa has been sick (believe it or not, colds and bugs are still going around!), and in each instance she’s been tested for COVID-19. Thankfully she’s come back negative with each rapid and PCR test so far.

Sending her to daycare has been a very calculated decision and we don’t take the risks lightly. At this point we’re limiting Willa’s interaction with other children outside of her daycare. While it’s true that we don’t know what risks other families are taking, we can only hope that they are being as careful as they can be as well.

With all that said, we’re starting to feel hopeful about the world again. We’re looking forward to one day traveling, showing Willa all of our favorite places, bringing her to meet family and friends that have yet to meet her, taking work trips again, and hell – just dining out a lot!

If you want to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines or vaccines in general, I highly recommend the Facebook group Vaccine Talk: An Evidence Based Discussion Forum, it’s filled with scientists and others who are very knowledgeable on vaccines and immunology. You’re also welcome to reach out to me here in the comments or privately if you have any questions. I’m no vaccine expert, just really interested in vaccines, particular the ones for COVID-19, so maybe I can point you in the right direction.

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