3 doctors who received the Pfizer vaccine discuss their side effects and why they chose to get vaccinated
Nikhita Mahtani 18 hours ago
Dr. Michael Bernstein, 43, is an ICU doctor in Stamford, Connecticut.
At my appointment, I was asked to confirm that I was feeling OK, was given the injection, and then waited about 15 minutes to make sure I didn’t experience any side effects.
I had a little muscle soreness, sort of like a punch to the arm, for about 24 hours.
Other than that, I felt perfectly fine. The hospital administrator said they’d be in touch to schedule the second dose, which will be within a 96-hour window about three weeks later.
I believe the science behind this type of vaccine — the messenger RNA platform — is strong. Understanding the basic science of it, I have very few concerns about the efficacy of the vaccine or the long-term complications. As a mechanism, there is no live COVID-19 virus in the vaccine: It’s just giving you the code for spike protein so that your immune system will be able to make antibodies. To me, it’s an even safer platform than many previous types of vaccines.
Dr. Nick Kessener, 35, is a fourth-year resident in internal medicine and pediatrics in Peoria, Illinois.
For me, the choice to get vaccinated is a risk versus benefit decision.
I’m at fairly high risk of contracting the virus because I work around COVID-19 patients extensively. I’ve seen the effects of this disease, from short-term complications like respiratory distress to the long-term complications like pulmonary issues with pneumonia and even lung diseases. I had a patient in her 30s who had a stroke because of COVID-19, and it made me realize this is a scary disease, especially for causing young, healthy people to be having significant complications very early on.
After I got the shot, I had just a little muscle soreness.
Personally, it makes me feel better that I’m a lot more protected because I did feel like it’s not a matter of if I get it, it’s when. It’s somewhat of a miracle that I somehow haven’t caught it yet, so I am really reassured from that sense. But at the same time, I could still spread it if I’m around someone, since the data isn’t out on whether it prevents spreading to other people yet, even if I don’t get the disease myself.
Dr. Katie Passaretti, 44, is an infectious-disease attending doctor in Charlotte, North Carolina.
To me, the vaccine is far less risky than continuing to let COVID-19 spread unchecked.
My side effects were minimal — muscle soreness for 24 hours, that’s about it. I absolutely felt safe, well-informed, and in good hands getting the vaccine. It felt physically very similar to any other vaccine I’ve received in the past.
But my emotional reaction to receiving the vaccine, and more importantly watching my other healthcare workers get vaccinated, was very different and honestly moved me to tears. It felt like the right thing to do to protect my community, set an example for my peers, and do my part to protect others in my community and workplace. I am grateful for the scientific experts that worked so hard to make this vaccine possible as quickly and as safely as they have, and I look forward to encouraging others to get vaccinated with me.