By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Carissa Heinenge, a health educator with Deschutes County Public Health, wasn’t expecting to have any sort of reaction to the Pfizer vaccine.
“I was not anticipating, you know, waking up at midnight with sweats and chills,” Heinenge said.
After her first dose, she experienced a headache, fatigue and soreness around the area where she got a shot.
“But the chills were the biggest immune response and it was pretty bad,” Heinenge said.
On Wednesday, she got her second dose, and on Thursday, she was feeling sick again.
“The headache has been worse compared to my first go through it,” Heinenge said. “I’ve had a little bit of nausea.”
According to data submitted to the Centers for Disease Control, a systemic reaction, meaning a reaction like fever, chills or a headache, is not uncommon after receiving the COVID vaccine.
In an experimental group of people 55 and younger, 81.9% receiving the Moderna vaccine and 77.4% receiving the Pfizer vaccine reported some sort of systemic reaction. Most of those reactions were mild or moderate.
Both vaccine companies said the frequency of those systemic events was higher after the second dose than the first.
The side effects could be severe enough to warrant missing work. That’s something the Redmond School District is taking into consideration, as many of their teachers are receiving their second dose in the next few weeks.
“We’re going to have some substitutes standing by on-site in case people are unable to come to work,” Shelia Miller, public information officer for the Redmond School District, said.
School Nurse Kim Kirk got her vaccine on Wednesday, and she was feeling great at work on Thursday.
“I’ve seen one reaction where I encouraged the person to go home because they just really weren’t feeling well, but everyone else I’ve come into contact with seems to have done well,” Kirk said.
Kirk said many teachers she’s talked to are looking forward to getting fully vaccinated.
And even with her symptoms, Heinenge feels the same way.
“Maybe 24 hours of very manageable symptoms, or you know, immune response following the vaccine, is way better than going through a full course of the illness,” Heinenge said.