Triangle COVID-19 vaccine recipients describe experiences after shot, anticipate 2nd dose

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Healthcare workers who received some of the first COVID-19 vaccinations in the Triangle are less than a week away from getting their second doses.

CBS 17 spoke to them about their experiences since receiving their first shot and how they feel about the next one.

Uma Kalagnanam will never forget the moment she received her COVID-19 shot.

“It was very emotional,” recalled Kalagnanam, a nurse manager in the COVID unit at Duke Regional Hospital. “It was the next step… to help stop the spread of this terrible virus and hopefully help save some lives.”

In the days after getting her vaccine, Kalagnanam said she experienced only one minor side effect.

“I had a little bit of arm pain and that actually came around the third day, but then the next day it went away,” she said. Most of her staff also has also received the vaccine, and she said none of them felt side effects significant enough to prevent them from working. “I think the only other thing they experienced was a headache that also resolved pretty quickly.”

Dr. Julius Wilder described a similar situation after getting his shot on the first day of vaccinations at Duke University Hospital.

“I had a little bit of soreness in my right shoulder, which again is consistent with other vaccinations that I’ve had in the past,” Wilder explained.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines can cause arm pain or swelling, fever, chills, tiredness, or headache that should all go away in a few days.

“The second shot you may see more side effects; that’s a possibility,” said Wilder. “That having been said, it may not happen at all and it may feel like the first shot.”

Even if the second shot does cause side effects, these health care workers say they pale in comparison to the potentially devastating effects of the virus.

“That’s a really tough thing for us to see on a daily basis,” said Wilder. “It’s really taking a toll on all of us.”

That’s why he and Kalagnanam are ready for their next vaccine dose.

“Science has shown this to be a very safe and effective vaccine,” said Wilder.

Kalagnanam added, “We’re all looking forward to getting that second one.”

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