The Road Back: Receiving My First Dose of the COVID Vaccine


Media by Jen Del Carmen

Receiving the vaccine proved to be a relatively simple process once signed up. Although my arm was slightly sore the next day, I didn’t experience any adverse reactions from the vaccine aside from my arm being slightly sore.

People close to me will tell you I’m not an outwardly emotional person. However, I felt some of my strongest emotions in months after receiving my first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

I received the vaccine at a CVS about 25 minutes from my house, since teenagers are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine. When my mom signed me up on March 30, the signup form only asked if I was above 16 with no questions related to the tier system; however, that has changed.

Although I’m 18 and technically an adult, my mom, who has already gotten her first dose, came with me to provide moral support. We arrived about 10 minutes early and had to wait about 15 minutes before getting my shot. 

Everything was orderly, and the CVS staff were all kind and polite while making sure people wore their masks and adhered to the social distancing markers. After a short wait, I was called to a room in the back where my vaccinator was waiting for me.

After filling out more information on my vaccination card and having my temperature taken, I received the shot in my left arm.

When the needle went in, it felt painless compared to the normal flu vaccine. Even if the shot had been excruciating, I doubt I would’ve felt a thing because I was so caught up in feelings of joy and relief. I was then asked to wait in the store for 15 minutes to make sure I had no allergic reaction.

After eating lunch at home, I went into school and continued my day as normal with no side effects. I did a hard running workout at track practice and performed a full body weight lifting session later in the evening. Although my shoulder was a little stiff the next day, I’ve felt far more sore in the past from other shots.

Even if the shot had been excruciating, I doubt I would’ve felt a thing because I was so caught up in feelings of joy and relief.

Mentally, I’m overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude. Gratitude that my mom searched so diligently for everyone in my family to get an appointment. Gratitude toward the front line workers and nurses who kept society functioning even during spikes in COVID-19 cases. Gratitude toward the scientists who worked tirelessly to produce this vaccine in record time.

It still feels surreal knowing I have a dose of the vaccine in my body. For over a year, I’ve dreamed of a return to normalcy, and it finally feels like we’re on the right track.

Although millions of Americans are yet to receive the vaccine, there’s definitely hope. While I will continue to wear a mask and exercise caution with whom I’m in contact with, I feel like we’re a small step closer to our old lives.

While I’m ecstatic to have received the vaccine, I do have some guilt knowing there are others who are at high risk, especially those in poverty, who are yet to get their vaccine. However, I do feel better about the current situation knowing all adults in Missouri are now eligible for the vaccine.

At the end of the day, the best vaccine is the one people can get as soon as possible. For those who have the resources, be relentless in your pursuit. The sooner we all do this, the sooner we can return to normal.