I would've written this earlier, but I wrote other blog posts that I haven't posted yet because they might be too personal. I showed one to a friend, and she said it was fine, but I still am not sure. But I want to describe my experience with the Moderna Booster shot because it wiped me out, as the second shot did.
I got the booster on Halloween, when availability was still limited to people over 65 and those with immunity issues, because I teach a few classes in-person, and education workers were amended to those earlier lists. I also live and work in one of the most populated areas of Chicago, and have been an Essential Worker throughout the entire pandemic, so I was pretty worried about the virus and wanted the booster for extra protection.
I was incredibly happy to qualify, and figured I wouldn't experience many side-effects because it's less potent than the regular vaccine. But a couple hours after I got it, I started to feel lightheaded. I thought that would be it; I was lightheaded and spacey for a few days after my first shot, so I thought it would be similar. But then I started slowly feeling really horrible. I had a pounding headache, nausea, and I felt like I had the flu, without the fever, because my body felt heavy and I could barely move. I was horizontal for several hours and I felt like I had the stomach flu. I couldn't eat and felt so nauseated, I couldn't sleep. But I was exhausted and I felt like I couldn't think straight because I was trying not to get sick and my head was pounding.
I lay down all day and night, and I was going to skip work on Monday because I was so wiped out. I'd already learned my lesson after the second shot: it's very hard to work when you're not eating, feel very nauseated, and feel like the earth is trying to pull you down to get you horizontal again. But I had a few things to get done at work, so I lay down as late as a I could, scraped myself off the floor (or couch; I don't remember because I was moving between my bed, couch, and floor), and got to the office. I got the work done, immediately went home, and lay down again. Thanks to the flu shot, I haven't had the flu in several years, but this felt like it; my body felt very heavy and I felt very tired, and I really thought I wouldn't make it.
After several hours of off-and-on sleeping, I finally emerged feeling relatively normal, though I hadn't eaten for a couple of days. I know that some people think not eating is great because we can lose weight, but I appreciate having an appetite because it is a sign of health, and I appreciate food. Now I am fully vaccinated and not worried about living and working in an area with tens-of-thousands of people. I'm still being careful about where I go, and I wear my mask. These limitations aren't fun and can be frustrating and depressing, but I'd rather deal with all that than get COVID, even a mild case, or pass it on to someone who could really suffer from it!