By Joe Darby
So, I got my second vaccination shot this week and it seems — as often happens with me — that I’ve sort of done things backwards from most folks.
Everyone has heard that the reaction from the second shot is more severe than that of the first. Well, not in my case. When I got the first shot a few weeks ago, I had several days of fever, fatigue, shortness of breath, stomach upset and some loss of appetite, the very symptoms that go along with the Covid virus itself. This week I got my shot Tuesday. On Wednesday I was feeling pretty low, with fever, but by Wednesday night I was feeling better and the fever was gone. I’m about back to normal as I write this Thursday.
I think there’s a reason for this pattern in my reactions. I actually had the virus in October and while I never had serious problems breathing I felt quite sick, with all the above mentioned symptoms continuing for some weeks. And I have heard, that if a person had the virus already, the first vaccination shot produces more powerful symptoms than it does for folks who hadn’t had it. That was exactly what happened in my case.
So, anyway, it’s done and now I am confident that I am pretty well protected from those evil little bugs that have disrupted the whole world for so many months. I must say I can’t understand why anyone would not want to get vaccinated. In the last couple of centuries, vaccines have saved many millions of lives and have wiped out terrible diseases that plagued mankind for hundreds of years. We no longer have to worry about smallpox and diphtheria, just to mention two diseases that vaccines have conquered. Both of those were universally dreaded and struck down people of all walks, rich and poor, kings and peasants, city folk and country folk.
And I remember the “miracle” of the polio vaccines, which were developed in the 1950s. Prior to their availability, my mother worried every summer that I might contract the terrible, crippling disease. She warned me to stay away from mud puddles, which in the folklore of the day, was believed to be a source of the polio germ. Who knows, maybe it was. Anyway, I remember getting my vaccine, in the form of a sugar cube. From that time on mother breathed easier in the summers and I could play in a mud puddle if I wanted to.
There are also vaccines that protect against age-old childhood diseases like measles and mumps. I had both of those when I was little, but fortunately they were only of moderate severity. One of the childhood memories that has stuck with me after all these years was of me looking in a hand mirror when I had the mumps. My whole lower face was so swollen I looked like a Mexican water jug. I couldn’t believe that it was actually me in the mirror.
I also remember when I had measles and my bedroom was kept darkened because it was believed light could cause eye damage. Maybe it could have. I understand that severe cases did result in blindness sometimes.
So I say hail to all those researchers over the years who developed vaccines that make our lives a lot safer and easier. Without them, a lot of us wouldn’t be here because we or our ancestors would have succumbed to one form of virus or another.