O.C. Locals Share Experience Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine

Here are some reactions from the first to receive vaccines.
Photograph by @hakannural

Dr. América Bracho
CEO of Latino Health Access
Side Effects: Arm soreness
“My mom died two weeks ago. She was my great friend. She’s in Venezuela. I’ll get my second dose, wait the two weeks, and then go to Venezuela because finally I can do it. She was 88, so I was hesitant to travel because I didn’t want to infect (her), and I didn’t want to get infected traveling. From the work aspect, our team is in the streets. We are the ones who do a lot of the outreach, and we host the testing sites in many low-income areas that have been super impacted. … We can serve our community being more at ease. I have a son who is a physician at Hoag that I wasn’t able to see (in person). He had COVID-19 and then got the vaccine, and we actually were able to see each other.”

Haley Buller
research supervisor
Side Effects: Arm soreness, fatigue, fever
“I was pretty relieved, but also I feel kind of guilty because my parents haven’t gotten it. On paper, I should be the last person to get it, health and age wise. I’m happier to go outside and feel more free, but I still wear a mask, still distance. The information I’m getting at my hospital is that they don’t have enough data yet to show that you’re not (still possibly) a carrier.”

Emma Lowerison
registered nurse
Side Effects: Arm soreness, body aches, night sweats, fatigue, headache, swollen lymph node
“I’m not really changing my life as far as distancing goes because I know that we still are unsure if it gives you full immunity or if you can still pass the virus if you’re exposed. But I feel a sense of relief and peace knowing that we’re headed in the right direction, especially for health care workers that probably will continue to be fighting this for a long while. And just hope for all of humanity, really.”

Ashley Towers
registered nurse
Side Effects: Arm soreness, tired, chills, body aches, sore lymph node
“Sitting in the room to get the shot, everyone was so euphoric. A lot of us (health care workers) go into work and don’t think of ourselves; we always put our patients’ health before our own. If they’re really sick and you have to rush into the room and put on all the proper equipment … there’s always that chance that you were so consumed with getting to your patient quick enough that for some reason you are exposed. Now that I’ve gotten the second shot, that level of comfort has greatly increased.”

Kara Yatabe
Side Effects: Arm soreness, local swelling, and redness at injection site
“It’s a weight off my shoulders. We are considered essential workers, so we stayed open the entire time. … California amended the list of what’s considered health care workers and providers, so veterinarians became part of that list. Because of that, now veterinarians and the staff are able to get vaccinated, which I think is important because we’re still coming in contact with the animals, which can carry the virus on them.”

Marian Edmonds
registered nurse
Side Effects: Fatigue, arm soreness, body aches, headache
“The biggest impact for me is at work because of the constant exposure, and for us it’s more than just the patients; all of our co-workers are getting sick. We had so many employees that were out with COVID-19, and we’re getting emails every day saying, ‘You’ve come into contact with a positive health care worker.’ I think I’ll feel better once my parents (get shots) because then I’ll feel like we at least can feel safe about seeing each other again. Even if your symptoms are worse than what I experienced, it’s well worth sacrificing 24 to 48 hours of feeling crumby to have antibodies for an extended period of time.”

Sean, firefighter and paramedic
Side Effects: Chills, body aches
“I had just finished having COVID. I had it and then I got the shot probably like a week after I finished my 14 days of quarantine. I just wanted to be safe with (my wife) being pregnant. I’m worried that we’re going to need the vaccine to do things in the future like go to a concert or go to Canada to snowboard. It was peace of mind for me knowing I had it.”

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