I have been vaccinated, Now what?

On Wednesday I received my covid-19 vaccine. I had become eligible for it the previous Wednesday but finding an appointment was not easy and took me a few days. I finally got one at a CVS drug store. The downside was that it was in San Jose which is about a 90 minute drive for me. The upside is that they were giving the Johnson&Johnson vaccine which is a single dose. So I am now done. I also enjoyed that for the first time in a year, I actually went further than a couple of miles from my home and I enjoyed the change of scenery. Soon after the lockdown began last March, I filled the gas tank in my car in case of an emergency and when I checked on Wednesday before I set out, I had done only 240 miles for the entire year. The trip to San Jose added about 150 miles in just one day.

I expected that the following day I would experience the widely publicized side effects such as fever, chills, aches, and pains, and planned to spend the next day or two in bed, my usual routine when feeling out of sorts. But there was nothing, nothing at all, not even soreness in the arm or near the vaccinated area. If I had been part of a clinical trial, I would have thought that I had been given the placebo. It has only been nearly 48 hours since I got the vaccine and it is possible that the side effects may kick in later. But so far, so good.

According to CDC guidelines, vaccinated people, after allowing two weeks after the second (or only) dose for the immune system to respond, can congregate even indoors in small groups of close family and friends who have also been vaccinated and are also being cautious. But there are still limits.

We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until we know more.

Some epidemiologists are more cautious than the CDC, suggesting waiting for four weeks after being fully vaccinated.

I do not plan to change my life much just because I am vaccinated. As the CDC recommends, I will still wear a mask and practice social distancing and avoid indoor settings outside my home. I will continue to wash my hands regularly and use hand sanitizer if I cannot access water. This is partly because I am not sure if I can still infect others and partly because mask wearing compliance is enhanced by social pressure. People will not know that I have been vaccinated and I do not want my masklessness to encourage similar behavior by others. What the vaccine has done is give me much greater peace of mind about the danger of succumbing to the coronavirus. This is no small thing.

Incidentally I learned something about virus transmission. We have been told that you wearing a mask mainly protects others from you but does not protect you from others. I was puzzled by this because it seemed like this meant that the mask barrier only operated one-way, preventing the virus from going out of your body and not from coming in. That seemed counter-intuitive for a simple physical barrier. I have now learned that this has nothing to do with the nose and mouth that the mask covers which does operate both ways. It is that the virus can enter us via our eyes but eyes do not emit viruses. This ties in with the advice to constantly wash hands and not touch the face and eyes. Wearing glasses all the time (as I do) reduces the risk of infection via the eyes but goggles and face shields are even better. One learns new things all the time.


  1. brucegee1962 says

    What I’m looking forward to in particular is getting a haircut. My wife has tried trimming a bit, but I still look awfully shaggy.

  2. kestrel says

    Congratulations, that’s wonderful! Every new person vaccinated brings us even closer to the end. It’s great you had no side effects. Most of the people I know have had none. I do know one doctor who was involved in the trial of the Moderna vaccine, and after his second shot, he experienced a period of about 2 hours where he felt very ill but then he felt just fine and it has been so ever since.

    It is not my turn yet to be vaccinated but I hope it soon will be. I expect I’ll experience at least a sore arm, as most vaccinations cause that for me. In the meantime I rejoice every time I learn of a new person being vaccinated.

  3. Ice Swimmer says


    I got my first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday. Got some side effects (temperature for a while, local redness even now). The second dose will be at the end of the May. The life will go on as before during this pandemic, masks and all.

    There are millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine (made in Ohio and Maryland) waiting for the EUA or an export permit in the U.S. while Astra and FDA have had difficult times with each other.

  4. Bruce says

    Great. I got my first Pfizer shot today. Anecdotally, I think the occasional side effects are more likely after the second shot, so those who get the Johnson and Johnson shot may be less likely to ever get side effects. But I agree that any vaccine you can get is better than delaying for something else.

  5. Mano Singham says


    I got myself a set of clippers and have been cutting my hair ever since the pandemic started. I was nervous about it at first and wondered if I would make a total hash of it but it came out surprisingly well and was very easy to do. On two separate occasions when I was out on my walk, people commented favorably on my haircut, not knowing that I had cut it myself. It was a completely unprompted compliment because we were not even talking about hair.

    I can highly recommend the Wahl clipper set I got which cost about $40. I will be cutting my own hair from now on even after things open up. (I feel like one of these social influences who promote products except I do not get a commission!)

    If I could get good results doing it by myself, having your wife use it on you would give even better results.

  6. Mano Singham says

    Ice Swimmer #3,

    Why is there such long time lag for you between the first and second doses?

  7. Ice Swimmer says

    Mano Singham @ 6

    Because they are trying to have the maximum number of people receive the first dose with the limited amount of doses available in order to minimize the number of severe cases and thus the load on intensive care units.

    Finland is receiving approximately 400 000 -- 450 000 doses/month for our 5.5 million people. The health care system could with the current arrangements* give out 600 000 doses/month.
    * = Vaccination at health care centers and other sites adapted for the purpose by regular health care personnel, appointments are timed and patients directed by volunteers in way that minimizes queues and maintains social distancing consistently.

  8. DonDueed says

    I got my jab this past Tuesday (also J&J, so I’m done). Like you, I had to make a trip, about 50 miles in my case, to a hospital just outside of Boston. I’ve had a moderately sore arm but no further side effects.

    I too felt the relief you described, even though the immunity only kicks in fully after four weeks or so. An equal measure of relief occurred about a week earlier when I got my appointment (they contacted me!!) and realized I didn’t have to spend frustrating hours trying to navigate the miserable signup system in Massachusetts anymore.

    Incidentally, I’ve been getting haircuts from my usual gal for several months now. I’ll be getting another one tomorrow, in fact. For many years I have been scheduling my haircuts first thing Saturday mornings, which means I and my stylist (both masked) are the only ones in the salon, so the risk is pretty low.

  9. Who Cares says

    There is another why a mask protects you less then it protects others from you.
    The mask prevents the initial spread of particles. Instead of that three (or more) feet distance they spread only inches (of not less) around you. If you wear a dentist/surgeon type mask you take in significant amounts of air from the sides so walking through a cloud of particles you breathe those in so are less protected from contracting something airborne.

    A reason to keep wearing masks even after you get vaccinated and have the actual immunity instead of COVID won’t be as bad if you get it is that there hasn’t been a real test on how far the vaccine goes. And if a vaccine doesn’t get into the category of sterilizing immunity (guess where the conspiracy theory about wanting to sterilize the majority of humanity through vaccines comes from) it means even if you do not get ill you can still infect others.

    Finally keep in mind that the J&J vaccine provides immunity in about 72% of the cases and the remaining 23%-28% (there are always a few people that don’t get any benefits) it ‘only’ reduces the severity of COVID-19

  10. Callinectes says

    I figured that the main benefit of the face mask is that the barrier physically robs your breath of most of its energy, meaning that any particles carried on it can’t travel as far before beginning their journey to the ground.

    I have heard that since the bulk of the side effect symptoms are caused by your immune response to the vaccine, older people tend to experience milder symptoms because their response is not quite so robust as a younger person’s. The second shot results in a stronger response than the first and thus stronger symptoms, so you lucked out there.

  11. says

    I felt really tired the day after both doses. Not really sick, but how I feel right before the times I came down with the flu before I started getting the flu vaccine every year.

  12. says

    Tomorrow will be two weeks since my second dose. I jumped the gun a bit, swam twice over the last 4 days and at at a restaurant once. Still will wear a mask.

  13. billseymour says

    I got my second Pfizer jab on Thursday; and since that protects me from the disease but not from getting a virus load that I can spread, I also will continue to wear a mask and social distance to protect others. (It’s not all about me.)

    Like Mano, I had so side effects that I can attribute to either shot. I hope that that’s not an indication that I’m one of the five percent of folks for whom the mRNA vaccine is ineffective.

    I qualified a while ago because of age, but I signed up at only one place, the hospital where my primary care physician has admitting rights, and waited for the e-mail. Since I’m fortunate to be able to work from home and have no reason to leave my apartment except for quick trips to the grocery store, I didn’t want to cut in line in front of somebody else who might me more needy.

  14. mnb0 says

    “The upside is that they were giving the Johnson&Johnson vaccine which is a single dose.”
    You should thank capitalist globalization. This vaccin is Dutch (by Janssen in Leiden, to be precise), but not Dutchie has received it yet.

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