Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine as a Teen: Preparations, Pain, & Side Effects

A first-hand experience of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. By Dylan Lee.

Photo source: Dylan Lee

Just before spring break last month, as a sixteen year old I became eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Although it was difficult to find available appointments without having to drive 45 or more minutes, I would constantly reload websites, as they added new appointments hourly. My mother received a text from the Oakland Children’s Hospital (just 3 miles from my home) saying they will be releasing appointments soon. As a previous patient of theirs, I managed to get an appointment at the end of our spring break. One tip I have for anyone trying to book an appointment is to be persistent. Make sure to regularly check different locations for new availability and sign up for email updates to be alerted when new appointments are posted.

Before going to my appointment to receive my first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19, I had to fill out extensive paperwork and consent forms because I am still a minor. Do not forget to bring these forms and an ID to your appointment or you will not be able to receive the vaccine. Also, note that if you are a minor, most locations will require you to bring your legal guardian to your appointment. Even though, I had my mother take me for my first shot, I forgot to bring my father to my second appointment and they had to call my mother to give her consent over the phone.

I was required to arrive 15 minutes before my appointment and they administered the shot shortly after. They then require you to wait 15 minutes after the vaccine is administered to ensure that you are okay to leave. Personally, I am typically not very sensitive to medications and vaccines, so I went back to school after main lesson period was over and even went to the high school dance the next day. Some teens have reported that they initially felt pretty drowsy, tired, and slightly dizzy. But after a nap or good rest, they felt much better. Most symptoms they experienced were a headache and a slight aching feeling like you experience when you have a cold.

The second dose itself hurt slightly more than the first but was overall not too bad. I was expecting to be totally knocked out, but shockingly I didn’t fall prey to the vaccine. Prior to getting the vaccine shot and immediately after, I followed the sage advice of Dr. Babinet and began drinking lots of water to ensure that I would not feel like a walking corpse. 

I would like to acknowledge that everyone’s bodies react differently to the vaccine, but as we strive to reach a majority immunity throughout America, I highly recommend receiving a vaccine if you have the privilege to.

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