I Got Shot, Part One

Me getting my first shot of COVID vaccine
John Scalzi

Hey, would you look at this, this is me getting my first shot of the Pfizer COVID vaccine today. You should know that the shot itself was painless — literally, if I hadn’t been taking a selfie of the moment I was stabbed I’m not sure I would have been convinced I had gotten the shot — and so far there are no real side effects for me. I understand that with the first shot, it’s the next day you feel it, and that it’s the second shot where you really feel the side effects, if in fact you feel it at all. I’ll let you know in both cases, but in both cases, side effects are better than the actual effect of battling COVID.

For those wondering, I got the shot at Wilson Health in Sidney, which is in the county north of me, mostly because they had appointments available when everything closer to me was all booked up. The process was efficiently and competently run and Krissy and I were signed in, shot up, and sent out in just about an hour. The only real complaint I had was not about Wilson Health, but that nearly every dude waiting to get a shot had his nose sticking out of his mask. On one hand, they’re getting a vaccine, so it could be worse, but on the other hand, for fuck’s sake, dudes, put your nose in your mask.

I live in a region where there is “vaccine hesitancy,” because this is a Republican-dominated area, and the Republicans spent the last year trying to pretend COVID wasn’t that big of a deal, that it would magically go away, you don’t need masks, so on and so forth. I was heartened to see so many people getting vaccinated today, but there need to be more, and for the people who have “hesitancy” about it, I would remind them that the COVID virus genuinely does not care what your politics are or what your favorite talk show host has to say about vaccines, or whatever ridiculous thing you read on Facebook about microchips in the shot or whatever. It just wants to infect you, and then possibly kill you. Get the damn shot. It’s smart for you, and it helps protect literally everybody else you might come across. And as someone in line actually said today to someone else, “Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.” That’s one hundred percent correct.

In any event: One shot down, one shot to go. And I now have a concrete timeline for a return to something resembling normalcy for me and my family. That’s worth a tiny, painless stab in the arm for sure.

— JS

94 Comments on “I Got Shot, Part One”

  1. Pro tip: take some Tylenol now, because the next day gets a bit rough. And ice your shoulder now- it doesn’t hurt when you get jabbed, but it gets mighty sore a few hours later.

    I’ve been double-jabbed with Moderna, and I’m grateful for it.

  2. Congratulations. I’ve had both Pfizer shots, no complaints (I blame my noticeable morning aches and pains on my age, not the vaccine.

    I’m wishing for a “Cover Your Damn Nose” T-shirt, myself.

  3. Great news! My husband received Shot #1 today as well. Extremely crowded but, nothing was worse than navigating the convention center parking lot. Looking forward to my turn, and my parents’ for that matter.

  4. Congratulations!

    At our place, it wasn’t just noses of people waiting for vaccines– there was this one national guardsman at the entrance who kept taking his mask off to talk to people. I’m like, dude. DUDE. (But I didn’t actually say anything because I was scared and there were lots and lots of people there who should have been telling him to keep his mask on, like the other national guard members he was talking to, the people in charge of scheduling who kept conferring with him, the Red Cross people, etc.)

    As of last week, even though we expanded who could get the shot, they stopped having any waitlist at all because not enough people who are eligible are getting the vaccine. If you’re eligible you just sign up for the next day. I hope they drop eligibility down to 40 soon so my DH can get it. (He’s been thinking about volunteering since my students who have done so have gotten extra vaccine at the end of the day, but… all those noses!)

  5. Welcome to the semi-vaccinated! One down, three to go, one more to go, then two more to go!

  6. I had the Moderna shot at work. A little arm soreness from the first one, but had whole body aches the day after the second. I’ve also had COVID in between the shots. Still worth getting the vaccine.

  7. Congratulations.
    I got my first Pfizer shot last Saturday and no problems.
    My arm was sore but only like I ran into something and I was not tired, more like lethargic on Sunday.
    My 88 year old father had no problems with either shot so I wasn’t really expecting any.
    Here in San Francisco, it was pretty well run. In and out quickly.
    We just need to get vaccines for everyone who wants them.

  8. Hooray! And happy vaccination!

    May there truly be a light at the end of this tunnel.

  9. Congratulations. We had our Moderna shots a week and a half ago. Some joint and muscle pain, but not terrible.

    The new needles, small and very sharp, are amazing. I could barely feel the stab.

  10. Coincidentally, I also got the first shot today (Pfizer). They told me to wave my arm around a lot to prevent soreness, so I’ve been emulating a chicken on and off throughout the afternoon. Now we just have to wait for my husband to become eligible.

  11. Congrats! Got my first Pfizer shot Thursday. No trouble at all, just a tiny bit of soreness at the injection site that went away after a couple of days. Not even worth mentioning (compared to dying, right?) but I still know people who think this is a politically-motivated issue. rolls eyes Since I already know people who’ve died from this plague, I’m completely baffled by the “politics” of not dying, but that’s just me.

  12. I recommend that you NOT take any antipyretics (most common painkillers are antipyretics, including acetaminophen, according to the label). There is preliminary evidence that moderating symptoms of vaccination also blunts the immune response, as measured by number of antibodies. Just ride it out.


  13. Getting dose one of a Pfizer vaccine tomorrow.

    I did a pre-registration at the Florida vaccine site on Saturday, got a call yesterday to set up a time.

    Surprised the crap out of me, the news has been showing so many people having a hard time getting an appointment, maybe we do have a chance with this Covidly beast.

  14. I’m scheduled for my first shot tomorrow, and my wife gets her first shot on Sunday.

    I’m looking forward to being able to visit my 89-year-old mother (who got her second shot yesterday) next month–it’s been 13 months since we’ve seen her in person.

  15. I became eligible yesterday and was able to get an appointment for tomorrow morning. Really looking forward to starting to get back to normal.

  16. Still waiting for the vaccine, but I see my neurologist Friday (I have MS) so hopefully soon. Good for you and Krissy to get the vaccine. Hopefully that light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train!

  17. The wife and I just got our first dose today… The clinic at the neighborhood elementary had 20 extra doses to give at their last 30 minutes and the wife saw the post online, so we literally rushed over. So excited to join the semi vaccinated ranks. Especially since I still have business critical travel coming up over the next 2 months, some more protection beyond masks and distance is very welcome.

  18. Congrats! I get my second Pfizer shot tomorrow. The first one wasn’t bad at all, just an aching arm. Looking forward to getting back to relative normalcy.

  19. Being an old, decrepit fart I got my shots a while ago. I’m delighted to see younger, not-so-decrepit farts getting vaccinated. I got the Moderna vaccine: a little arm soreness for both shots. Not bad. I count myself lucky. My wife was sore all over after her second shot. Best to you and Krissy! Rock on!

  20. Got my first one (Pfizer) yesterday. I’m in Arizona, and people I know have been able to find shots, though they may have to search around. I used the drive-thru clinic at the state fairgrounds, which doesn’t seem to be publicized as much as the other drive-thru sites.

    Just a little soreness at the injection site and no other side HAIL BILL GATES effects.

    The CDC is running a survey site at http://www.cdc.gov/vsafe that is collecting information on how it went, for anyone that wants to participate.

  21. Congratulations! I’m very jealous. Up here in Canada we’re still only at the stage of vaccinating those who are 80+. Us middle-aged folks will have to wait until summer.

  22. Got my first Moderna shot last Friday – my shoulder was sore when I lifted my arm for 24 hours. It was like a Marx Brothers skit. “Doctor, Doctor, it hurts when I move my arm like this.” “Then don’t move your arm like that!” Interesting how the side effects are so very different for everyone. My colleague who got her shot the same day (also Moderna) reported a 24 hour wave of exhaustion. I don’t think my life will change too much, as I’ve been going to work all along, but it will be lovely to go out to breakfast with my best friend again!

  23. I am glad that you and Krissy got your first doses! Sad though not surprised to hear about all the noses hanging out, though; that is very much A Thing in some regions.

    I saw a piece in the WaPo today that there may be some benefit from the vaccine for the so-called “long-haulers,” folks whose Covid symptoms won’t quit for months. I know someone for whom that might be relevant, so I am hoping they get the vaccine.

    My spouse is 65 with pre-existing conditions, so he was able to get his first shot last week. He’ll get his second at the end of the month, and should be as protected as he’ll get by the middle of April.

    I’m 64 and my PCP estimates it’ll still be at least two months before there’s enough supply in our area for me to get to the front of the line. I’m hoping hard that I can dodge the nose-hanger-outers until I can acquire at least some degree of immunity.

    To all who can get the shot – please do so! If you’re not shedding Covid, that will help those of us whose turn for the vaccine is still months away to dodge the virus until we can join you in being protected.

  24. That’s awesome. Glad all is well. It looks like everyone in here either had the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. If you’re curious about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine I was vaccinated yesterday and have absolutely no side effects to report. My arm isn’t really even very sore.
    The science teacher in me needs to point out that you shouldn’t take the experience of one person and extend that to how other people would experience side effects from this vaccine. Just because I didn’t feel any side effects doesn’t mean others won’t.

  25. I got the Pfizer vaccine about 6 weeks ago. First shot, I had mild arm pain. With the second shot, I did the one-armed chicken dance a few times and had zero side effects.

    Fine since then too. Glad you got your shot, though not surprised. You’re a sensible guy.

  26. Congratulations! I’m looking forward to my “all clear” date in a month, like it’s a second birthday. Which I guess it kinda is, or a “hopefully not gonna die of this!” day.

  27. I got my first Pfizer shot one week ago today. Second is in two weeks. Like John, I didn’t even feel the needle.

    The muscle was a little sore for the next couple days, and only if you actually pushed on it, but otherwise everything is OK.

    That said, contrary to other commenters, I was specifically advised by the practitioner NOT to ice the site, as this reduces the effectiveness of the shot. mRNA is more fragile than dead virus parts, and more likely to get destroyed before it can be transcribed the lower the temperature of your arm.

  28. @Grace Annam,

    Could you please provide a reputable source for your claim about the antipyretics? Seems like a pretty significant issue to have been ignored by all of the major health news information sources.

  29. My arm didn’t hurt until the next day. And it has felt like I had a good bruise for a couple of days. Totally worth it.

  30. Texas has opened up vaccinations to all adults over 50, and one of my co-workers was on Slack offering to help with scheduling appointments. With his help we got my wife to an HEB grocery store and injected with the Moderna. (I get my second Moderna this coming Friday.)

  31. We got our first shot (Pfizer) last Saturday. In and out in an hour – and that included 30 minutes of observation time for a reaction (double the norm) because of my wife’s history of allergies. Never left our car, which was not a factor for us, but would be a big benefit for a couple of friends who have significant mobility issues.

    Absolutely zero negative effects for me. My wife was tired for about a day, but that is not unusual for her with a flu shot or any other preventive medication.

    I was also impressed by the double-checking done to prevent errors, and the attention to little details like traffic routing to minimize the possibility of collisions. To quote the old Siskel and Ebert verdict, “Two thumbs up!”

    Tom –

  32. Got the Pfizer a few weeks ago. Next two days felt like I had a mild hangover with slight body aches. Nagging headache and fatigue. Next shot soon, can’t wait!

  33. I’m jealous, up here in Canada it will be months before we will get the vaccine, being as we are only 58. We take my father in law for his first shot tomorrow he’s 84, but even then they are delaying the second shot until 4 months.

  34. I got my Pfizer shot today also. Arm is a little sore, but not as bad as I recall my last Tetnus shot being.

  35. I didn’t notice my first Pfizer jab either, and as someone who really doesn’t like needles, I was surprised. I got mine in the morning, and by dinnertime, I told my wife it felt like a 7-year-old had punched me in the arm (nothing like a tetanus shot). The next day, it felt like maybe it was a 12yo that punched my arm, but by the day after that I didn’t feel anything from it. Got my second jab coming up next week. I understand the day after for that one packs a bit more of a punch.

  36. I was in the Phase 1 trial for that vaccine. (Still am, actually; it lasts two years.) Got my two doses in July 2020.

    My husband just got his first dose two weeks ago. He should be beyond the “two weeks after his second dose” just in time for our 33rd anniversary. Might actually go sit in a restaurant to eat for the first time since March 2020!!

  37. Good for you. I’m glad to see more and more people vaccinated.

    My first shot was easy. I was recommend to do some gentle massage around the injection site. Something I do after a regular flu shot. By evening I had almost zero pain in the arm.

    I quite like the term used above. Semi-vaccinated

  38. I watched a few of the microchip videos for the purposes of finding one to use in a “watch this and spot the disinformation” teaching exercise. They are all EXTREMELY DRAMATIC and use deceptive editing so blatantly that they make pretty good teaching tools. (“Here, let’s look at a really obvious example so you get an idea of what this can look like in the wild!”)

  39. Got dose #2 (Moderna) on Saturday. Yeah, the reaction knocked me on my butt for about 36 hours. But now all is good. It feels as if a rope has now been lowered down into the well I have been stuck down in for a year.
    Will I still mask up, keep my distance, and choose outdoors over indoors whenever possible? Hell yes, until we get this virus under control. Because I care about my community, not just myself.

  40. I’m very glad to hear this!

    In California, I don’t yet qualify, although I am some years older than you. Just waiting my turn, carefully.

  41. Great! Best of wishes for minimal adverse effects from the second vaccine injection (my Moderna 2nd shot’s only adverse effect was fatigue). May you and yours all get through their vaccines with no adverse effects and may all of you and yours remain healthy.

    (Selfish reason: I want you to continue to write entertaining SF that I will enjoy reading.)

  42. Congratulations!

    We got our first dose of Moderna 4 weeks ago, during an ice storm that shut down the county seat with no power. The tiny town was as dead as 4 am.

    But the clinic has big Kohler generators, and was fully active Friday 4 weeks ago. Earlier today we got a call, and Thursday we’ll go to the same Primary Care Clinic for a drive thru to get our second shots. 1:30 she told me.

    Everything was very professional the first time, and I expect it will be also for the drive thru. People who pretend to be wearing a mask also give me a pain where I sit down … why not just do it correctly!?!?!!! Really !!

  43. Got my second Moderna yesterday morning (at a supermarket); the administering pharmacist said I could go ahead and shop during the 15 minute observation period–so far they’ve apparently had no “shopper down, aisle four” calls.

    Pretty sore arm last night–unfortunately my nondominant arm, which is where they recommend the shot, is also the one I sleep on. Woke up this morning with general nonlocalized meh and about one degree of fever, which has persisted, but not nearly enough to put me off a full day of considerable activity. I’m informed that for many such as I, the second night post-shot is even a bit harder, but that one wakes up the next morning feeling totally fine.

    Meanwhile, my sister, who lives in Lauren Boebert’s infrared district that encompasses all of western Colorado, informed me that Lauren showed up unannounced at some local conservative do, filled with maskless supporters packed in shoulder to shoulder (and probably very few sore ones). Future generations may well rename this plague “Hemorrhoid-19,” as long-term statistics may come to show that it disproportionately infects assholes.

    That said, someone is selling nice enameled lapel pins–sorry I don’t know how to add a pic to a comment, but maybe Athena would like one–making one a member of the “Secret Jewish Space Laser Corps,” complete with star of David sending a red beam downward and the Corps motto, “Mazel Tough.”

  44. Got my Fauci Ouchie on Saturday at Dodger Stadium here in LA. The Vaccine du jour was the Johnson and Johnson one-shot special. Not too much pain, but this particular concoction is thicker in consistency than the others, so the needle was thicker than I imagined (I felt my skin resist then give to the needle point), and it took a good 20 seconds to get it all in there.
    And boy, was it potent! I made the mistake of going camping that night, and I spent most of the night wiggling around in my sleeping bag with flu like symptoms and chills. But hey, one and done! Can’t beat that.

  45. Dear Grace,

    Ummm, no. Not according to the CDC nor (by way of example) this paper:


    Sure, if you can avoid taking any meds, that’s always better… in any situation. But if you need to, there is little that supports your statement.


    Dear Peter,

    OMG, I ordered two of those pins, one for me and one for my sweetie, Sandy!


    Thank you!!!

    pax / Ctein

  46. I’m sill laughing at how I started out so clueless that I was having any adverse reactions.

    Got my shot Friday night. Next day was unusually stiff and sore in bed but considered it mere coincidence. Didn’t clue it. Up for a while, walked to corner cafe, noticed I liked standing up to get stuff or throw stuff in garbage because it eased my legs. Still no clue that it meant anything.

    Napped at home, and was really tired when my alarm rang to go for tea and cookies upstairs. Began to clue in that maybe my tiredness was from my jab.

    Coming back downstairs I noticed my knees hurt for every step. “Oh, that’s a joint pain symptom” I thought.

    Napped again—and was roused by VERY violent shivering, even though my place is at room temperature.

    For the rest of the day I needed to dress in super-warm layers, including long johns, pyjamas and blue jeans. Worse than for any cold.

    Next day, Sunday, I was fine again…Cautiously removed one layer at a time. Not until Tuesday did I notice I had a sore spot, if I pushed on it, from the needle. Go figure.

    Meanwhile, I’ve lost patience. I have just now decided that the next time someone tells me some false covid news, I’ll look him in the eye, maybe grab his collar and demand, Did you get that only from social media, or does it check out in the real media too?” …

    I will say, “In God I always trust, but all social media must be verified.”

  47. Congratulations!
    Thursday for shot one for me. I was eligible as 1A but can work from home and felt guilty about taking one from someone who has to go in. But the J&J vaccine changed that for me, so batter up!

  48. I’m an EMT in NY (state; long island) so I got the vaccine in December and January. I also volunteer with my county department of health for the vaccination clinics, and we would never let someone uncover their nose. The number of sweet old people I’ve gently asked to cover their noses is not insignificant, and they’ve all cooperated. But then, we’re not far from NYC and we also had a rough time last spring, though not as bad as the city.

    My personal experience with the vaccine (Moderna) was, pain from the first shot bad enough to make it hard for me to lift things; less pain from the second shot and also no real side effects; I went to work the next day with no problems.

    And my husband got his first dose (also Moderna) 2 weeks ago and is scheduled for his second shot in 2 more weeks. Yay!

  49. I got my second Pfizer dose a few days ago. Can confirm that the second dose brings the reaction. My suspicion is that the first dose is gently teaching your body what this protein is (and how to fight it), while the second dose is either a second lesson (if your body did not learn it the first time) or else… it is the unit test (and your body goes to war).

    For me, the “spike protein war” lasted about 90 minutes, and started at appx second dose + 17h.

  50. @Peter – The first rule of Jewish Space Laser Corps is: you do not talk about Jewish Space Laser Corps. I forget the second rule.

  51. My spouse and I have both been socially isolating HARD for the past year because of some pre-existing conditions. We qualified as part of Group 1A and were eligible, but the sign-up process in my state was so bad that we decided to wait until the vaccine became as readily available as the flu vaccine is (thinking that would be by late April/early May) and continue to isolate rather than spend hours a day in a fruitless attempt to get scheduled (You had to contact individual sites authorized to provide a vaccine, see if/when they had availability, and get scheduled. Availability was known by the sites on a random basis–they might be notified at 0800, or 1300, or 2000, of 50 vaccines coming and whoever happened to call in the few minutes after they were informed got on the list. The process was to identify 20 or so potential sites within a 90 minute drive and constantly call them round-robin until you hit paydirt. I likened it to trying to buy a Cabbage Patch Doll the weekend before Christmas when they were a thing, when all you could do was drive around to stores and see if they had randomly received some and put them on the shelves just as they showed up.)

    And then it turned that I knew a guy–a friend of a friend–who was able to get us scheduled. We received our first vaccine in early Feb and our second last week (Moderna, 28 days between). Giving the recommended two week period for full effectiveness we should be good to go by the last weekend in March. We’re not going to change our behavior much–too many out there seem to think public health measures are all an attempt by the government to inconvenience them and by God they’re not going to play that game–but will certainly feel much better.

  52. Congrats on your first step to a brighter future, John. I’m going to make my appointment here soon in SoCal. Crossing my fingers everything goes well! However, no matter what I am getting the vaccine so hopefully all of us will have some normalcy return.

  53. We had our second Pfizer vaccinations last week. My husband had minor arm soreness. I had some swelling at the site and fatigue the next day, but that was it.
    At the end of March we’re hoping to have dinner at a restaurant with three friends (outside and we’ve all been vaccinated). It should be so much fun.

  54. Glad you could get your shot.

    Supposedly vaccines in Nebraska are solely age-based, and as a 58 year old that means I should be able to sign up next month. OTOH, my nephew is half my age and already got both his shots because he works at the state university and why should they have to follow the rules. Just one more thing to be ticked at our idiot governor over.

  55. Congratulations on getting the first dose! I got mine Monday, too, Pfizer, so will be following your timeline pretty closely. In western NY state eagerness for the vaccine is pretty high, so the sites are busy, but efficient. I was in and out in just over half an hour. I kept the March appointment I’d made in mid-January, thinking that those who hadn’t been able to get one on the same system could have the newly popping-up opportunities.
    As a regular Tylenol user, I found online it was OK to go ahead and take it as usual. I had more pain the second day. The CDC has an online survey you can fill in about symptoms, which may help them and future recipients be more specific about what to expect, vsafe.cdc.gov.
    I have to keep remembering that this is a new disease which means the experts really don’t know some things about it yet. But I’m very thankful that previously funded basic science research made speedily developed vaccines of various kinds possible.

  56. Was just able to book my first shot for next Tuesday. (Worcester County in Mass. is still rated high risk.)

    Thank you to all doing their part.

  57. I was lucky enough to get my Pfizer vaccines through work (five-sided building). The first shot was nothing; twelve hours after the second shot I felt like feces – the severe chills were to the point I had trouble steadying my hands enough to take Tylenol. The six feeling tapered off over the next 36 hours. Knowing that this was the reaction, not an infection, was helpful. Also, I love this XKCD explanation of mRNA vaccines: https://xkcd.com/2425/

  58. Zero symptoms for me after Pfizer#1, two days of chills, fever, and fatigue for my wife. #2, same story except for my wife’s reaction lasting a little over one day. Maybe I had a little arm soreness after the #2.
    Non-dominant arm for me both times. My wife chose to have her dominant arm injected.

  59. That’s great to hear, John.

    The more shots given, the closer this country will come to getting back to “normal.”


    Has anyone ever asked Trump supporting covid skeptics why Trump should get credit for a vaccine for a fake virus?

    If so, has anyone gotten a straight answer?

  60. Someone somewhere said that wearing a mask with your nose out is like using a condom with the end cut off.

  61. Congrats. We had the Pfizer shots too. I had a slight soreness after the first shot and, surprisingly, not even that – zip, nada – after the second. My wife had a headache (disposed of with Tylenol) and severe tiredness after the second shot, but it was gone in less than two days. We’re now past the two weeks after date, so it’s all good so far, other than – as you rightly point out – the morons with masks under their noses. In our area that is mostly old geezers, and I say that as a senior myself. These guys are OLD.

  62. Please delete Ray Cornwall’s comment recomending taking Tylenol. Pretty much every medical expert has stated that this may reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine. Any comment that provides medical advice without backing it up from a credible source should be deleted. Abc news had this story that refers to a number of studies that question taking pain killers before vaccines: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-19-vaccine-shot-painkillers-doctors/

  63. NONE of my co-workers from management on down intend to get vaccinated. My brother and his family are also refusing to do so. I become eligible in MI next week and fully plan on getting the shots.

  64. Hurrah. I got my second Pfizer shot on Sunday (and went out to lunch afterward to celebrate). Arm is still slightly itchy but no ill effects beyond a slight next day headache (which might just have been its own sweet self and not the vaccine).

    I find myself wanting to exercise the privilege of age and eccentricity and go up to people with their noses above their masks and Tssk, grandmother-like, and resettle the mask properly, pat them on the cheek, and say “There, now.”

    Except it might get me beaten to death, so I don’t.

  65. Congrats to you! You won the vaccine lottery. I have a raging case of vaccine jealousy. And while I begrudge no one getting their vaccine, we all deserve it, I am daily enraged by the inequity of the distribution, particularly in my state.

  66. Being in the UK, I had the much-more-common-than-anything-else Astra Zeneca… first jab two weeks ago in Ashton Gate football stadium in Bristol, one of the first seven national super-sites for the UK. It’s all scheduled pretty carefully so there are no crowds… if you’re early for your appointment time, you are asked to wait outside until five mins before your allotted time. So all the jabbees in the building at any one time seem to be outumbered two or three to one by guides, registrators, helpers, wheelchair-pushers (when I took my 94-yo mother a couple of months ago) and actual medical needlers.

    I barely felt my Covid jab. I gave blood the week before and that’s a more noticeable incursion.

    I didn’t have any reaction apart from a bit of stiffness in my upper arm which I might not have noticed if I hadn’t been looking for side-effects (though I did notice I had to pee more often the next day… that might most likely have have been coincidence). But a friend, similar age (63-ish), felt like he had been run over three times by a truck; he went hot and cold and his eyeballs hurt.

    His response was a bit like what happened to this BBC reporter chappie, who said the vaccine floored him: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-56375307 , though he says “Let’s be clear, even with hindsight I’d do it all again” due to the manifest benefits over not taking it.

    My friend might have had a form of Covid back in March last year; he had a positive test then, though a later antibody test showed nothing. But apparently having had the coronavirus before can trigger more noticeable side effects when you do get a jab. Another friend came down with something debilitating in Feb last year, which might, in hindsight, have been Covid. He had his first jab yesterday, so we shall see if he too is floored.

    Generally vaccine hesitancy seems low at the mo in the UK, with around 40 shots per 100 population so far, though that’s the over 60s and those with underlying medical conditions (50+ agers have only just been invited to book a jabpointment from today). Maybe the more social-media-consuming and less-likely-to-suffer-from-Covid young’uns will prove more hesitant.

    Mainland Europe seems more hesitant already, on top of which supply seems a little less assured and there has been a pause with the Astra-Z jab in some countries because of some concern over a small number blood clots. Blood clots happen all the time to lots of people and is probably entirely coincidental. There must be, with millions and millions of people now vaccinated, several cases where people have died in car crashes not long after having a jab.

  67. I came here from your copyright post to say that I found the argument that copyright should be Life+25 in order to disincentize murder to be totally compelling, and that made me sad.
    Apologies for Off Topic.

  68. “I find myself wanting to exercise the privilege of age and eccentricity and go up to people with their noses above their masks and Tssk, grandmother-like, and resettle the mask properly, pat them on the cheek, and say `There, now.’

    Except it might get me beaten to death, so I don’t.”

    Either that or shot.

    Chest thumping “muricans” definitely wouldn’t take kindly to that approach.

  69. I’m glad you and Krissy were able to get your shots. I get my second Pfizer shot next week and am very excited.

    My favorite argument for why folks should get the shot is that if they get COVID-19 and need to get hospitalized, live or die, there is likely to be an enormous medical bill to pay. Who wants that? Better to not get sick at all. We in the SF Bay Area have had strict mask enforcement. I don’t know anyone who has had a cold or flu in the past year. Masks and hand-washing work.

  70. Not too hard. Just get a vaccine ASAP.

    And if you find yourself around anti-vaxxers–why, exactly?

  71. Dear DJ,

    If you’ll read further down, I provided TWO credible sources.

    People were plausibly worried that it might have that effect. The CDC says no, and the bulk of the medical studies say no.

    If you wanna figure “better safe than sorry,” sure! Your choice. Me, I hate taking meds unless necessary, so I’ll support you in that.

    But medically, no, it ain’t gonna put you at more risk.

    pax / Ctein

  72. 2020 was the first year in my entire life that I have not come down with a cold.

    Yes, masks, handwashing and social distancing work.

  73. Curious how you are feeling today John. I got the Pfizer shot yesterday also and am not feeling great today. Nothing drastic just general malaise and a headache. I have heard some people describe it as almost like a hangover and that seems not far off the mark to me.

  74. Partner got his first (Pfizer) a week ago today; I got my first (Modern) the day after. We have both have appointments, made on site, for the second shot. I’m so glad we’re in synch with this, along with our closest friends. Our missed Thanksgiving coming up in the spring then!

    In the meantime I’m celebrating the vaccinations and a whole lot of other things tonight with the perfect meal for the fairly miserable weather that St. Paddy’s almost always is, with ‘that’ kind of meal: , big, thick, center cut pork chops, bone-in, with lots of coarsely ground black pepper, wine, and apples, mashed potatoes — AND! — fresh asparagus with butter and lemon. Asparagus! One of my favorite vegetables.

  75. Dear Foxessa,

    If you’re not already doing this, take the woody, inedible ends of the asparagus that you cut off and boil them in a couple of cups of water for a decent period of time (why, yes, that is a cooking measurement). The asparagus water makes a wonderful base for vegatable soup. It’ll keep for months and months if you want to freeze it for later use.


    Dear John et.al.,

    Here’s the latest on asymptomatic transmission by vaccinees:

    The bad news is that it does appear to be a Real Thing, not just a maybe–but-not-real-supposition (like analgesics vs vaccine response has turned out to be).

    The good news is that it is manageable at a level that allows for most all ordinary meet-ups, with some planning and limits.

    This is not the final word — the data is based on observational field studies, not control-group studies. There can be large systematic errors in either direction. Just so’s ya knows.

    Based on said studies, the Pfizer/Moderna vaccines reduce asymptomatic infections by 90-95%. Asymptomatic carriers are 25-50% as infectious as symptomatic carriers. (Asymptomats are responsible for the majority of new infections simply because, axiomatically, they — and no one around them— know they are sick.)

    In aggregate, that says that a vaccinee is only 1.3-5% as likely to infect someone as someone who hasn’t been vaccinated. That is low, but NOT zero.

    Important: That is not an absolute percentage. It is a relative one. To get an absolute measure of risk, you have to know how likely infection is to begin with. Getting to that…

    Me, I’m not willing to subject an unvaccinated friend or sweetie to even a 1.3% relative risk. (You and yours may decide differently — informed consent is the key.) Fortunately I (or you) can reduce that risk further.

    Only 2% of all infections occur outside a time window that starts two days after exposure (it takes time for the infection to manifest) and runs until 12 days after exposure (there’s a long tail on the probability curve).

    If you are willing (and able) to shelter starting twelve days before you want to visit someone and maintain that until two days before, you reduce the relative transmission risk by another factor of 4%. In other words, the aggregate relative risk is somewhere between 0.5 and 2 in a thousand compared to being unvaccinated and doing no sheltering whatsover.

    To get an absolute measure of the risk you present, you’d need to know your chances of getting infected during any particular venture out into the real world. All your mileages will differ, but unless you’re being foolish, and none of you are, that is a fairly small risk. (‘Course, if you’re the kind of person who goes to mobbed raves or fully-packed Church gospels, that’s very different!)

    Multiplied all together, you’ll constitute a 1-in-10,000 or less walking risk. That’s gold standard.

    The two-day near-side window is of huge practical importance. It means, e.g., you can get on a plane and go visit unvaccinated people (again, mutual consent!), and so long as you’re heading home 48 hours later, you haven’t put them at any undue risk.

    It may turn out to be safe to extend that to a 72-hour visit… but I don’t have that kind of confidence in the data yet. Stay tuned.

    Meanwhile, I’m already scheduling my first airplane trip to see a sweetie I haven’t seen in over a year. ‘Cause, y’know, two nights sandwiching a full day together still beats the effin’ hell out of isolation.

    Yay, vaccine!!!

    pax / Ctein

  76. Apologies for the serial posting, but I forgot to say this important thing:

    Vaccinee-vaccinee contacts do NOT create a transmission path worth worrying about, with the Pfizer/Moderna vaccines. It’s down at the gold-standards level, too.

    If you’re doing a sheltering protocol (in any form) to protect the unvaccinated, you can discount any vaccinee-vaccinee contact you have during that. It doesn’t break the protocol.

    Over and out!

  77. (joke) I got the flu shot this winter all for nothing!

    While (in my province) our covid deaths have rivalled the last ten years of influenza deaths, there have been no reported cases of flu this season. None. Hurray! Hurray or anti-covid measures!

  78. Congrats on getting your shot! Wife had her first yesterday, very happy. I’ll have to wait as I’m still not considered eligible. I guess I could lie and say I smoked, but I don’t roll like that.
    Your shirt intrigues me, Mr Scalzi!

  79. I got my first shot of the Moderna vaccine (or as I call it the Dolly Parton medicine) this morning. I’ve been trying to decide all day if my shoulder was sore from the shot or if I was imagining it. I finally decided that if i really couldn’t tell, it wasn’t worth worrying about. I got through my daily 3 mile walk with the dog this afternoon with no problems so I’m calling it good.

  80. Had 2nd shot, Pfizer, followed by the usual sore arm, nothing more. Now waiting out the two weeks I’ve heard recommended for full effectiveness before doing anything wild and crazy, like maybe going to the grocery store in person.

  81. Good job, John! Leading by example and the quote from the person in line is bang on target! Get some rest and get back up there to writing those awesome books and don’t forget to put that reminder on your phone for the second shot! Wishing you and Kissy the best of health!

  82. I’m “essential”, so I and my workers were able to sign up for (and receive) vaccinations. That is probably why Leah’s nephew, working at a state U, was able to get the vaccine; working at a school tends to bump you up the queue.

    Kaiser ran out of Moderna, so I got Pfizer instead. Nothing for the first 4 days, then body aches and tiredness for 36 hours. Hoping the second shot has no worse effects, but considering the alternative, I’ll deal.

    Am I the only person who thinks that having data gathering on the effectiveness of the vaccination process exclusively via smartphone app is DUMB? I can’t find any other way to submit feedback.

  83. @Ctein Thank you for that valuable household hint, all the more valuable as vaccinated or not, I will still be cooking constantly, just like I will continue wearing two masks.

    The big difference is going to the supermarket in person to buy groceries instead of making orders online and having them delivered. This will cut down on our grocery bills too.

  84. John Scalzi of CT (66) got his second dose of Moderna on Monday 3/15 with little trouble. Sore arm, the need for a nap and what he described as a jittery feeling before bed. He was tired again Tuesday but that’s it! My second dose of Pfizer is 3/24 and then we will both be fully marinated and ready to see other vaccinated friends by 4/7! We are rule followers so we haven’t slipped up to MA to see our daughter and her husband. I do see some light ahead.. but spring break, St. Paddys and Passover/Easter gatherings are going to stir things up again. Congratulations on your first dose!

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