Readers Share COVID-19 Vaccine Experiences + Reactions

With more and more people getting COVID-19 vaccines, Moderna or Pfizer, more questions arise as to what the experience of scheduling the appointment is, how it is paid for, and what side effects are if any. We asked our readers to share their experiences receiving the vaccines, and 11 of them were kind enough to walk us through the process. Read on to learn about how these locals scheduled the vaccine appointments and what side effects they experienced. 

hoboken jersey city residents covid 19 vaccine experience

Theresa Elko

Theresa is a 31-year-old Hoboken resident and Physician Assistant in Bone Marrow Transplant/Cellular Therapy Clinical Research. 

Have you had COVID-19?

No.

When did you get your vaccine and what type of vaccine?

I got the Moderna vaccine dose one on December 29th and my second dose on January 26th at Riverside Medical Group.

Did you experience side effects?

My side effects included fatigue, muscle aches, mild headache, and chills all day after the shot. I felt better after a Tylenol.


Kaitlin Montero

Kaitlin is a 36-year-old Jersey City resident.

How were the medical expenses covered?

I was asked to provide my insurance card which handled any expenses.

How did the scheduling for both vaccine doses work?

I registered through the practice’s website and received a call back the same day to schedule both doses.

Have you had COVID-19?

No.

When did you get your vaccine and what type of vaccine?

I got the Moderna vaccine on January 17th at Ocean Health Initiatives in Neptune, NJ.

Did you experience side effects?

I had soreness in the injection site that started maybe a few hours after I received the vaccine. It only lasted about 24 hours. Aside from that, I felt totally fine.


Dr. John Rotundo

Dr. John Rotundo is a 50-year-old Hoboken resident and Chiropractor.

How were the medical expenses covered?

My medical expenses covered by my insurance. I have not received any bills.

How did the scheduling for both vaccine doses work?

Riverside opened up a website for appointment requests and then called me in response to that request. I was able to schedule the same day. After receiving the injection they gave me an appointment for the second injection four weeks later.

Have you had COVID-19?

No.

When did you get your vaccine and what type of vaccine?

I received the first Moderna injection on January 6th and the second on February 5th at Riverside Medical 1111 Hudson Street in Hoboken.

Did you experience side effects?

I had a mild headache, fatigue, and arm soreness for a couple of days.


Rachel

Rachel is a 28-year-old Hoboken resident and teacher.

How were the medical expenses covered?

Every COVID-19 test and vaccine has been covered by the state.

How did the scheduling for both vaccine doses work?

I registered at the NJ covid website and they assigned me a phase {1a, 1B, 1c, etc.}. Once I did that, I revived an email telling me I was registered and to wait for an email to schedule my appointment. About a month later, I got an appointment request and scheduled my appointment three days later for my first dose. You then input where you live, select a mile radius in which you’re willing to travel, it tells you what locations are near you and then you can choose a time frame in which you want to get your vaccine.

Have you had COVID-19?

I had COVID-19 during the summer and was lucky enough to not really be affected by it. I also tested positive for the antibodies to confirm it.

When did you get your vaccine and what type of vaccine?

I got the Pfizer vaccine on January 20th. I had to drive all the way down to Gloucester County and go to Rowan College’s South Jersey campus. Since they are a mega-site, they were the only ones that had next day vaccines. They give you a QR code to check-in and they are very thorough with the check-in process. There were also six-seven different checkpoints you had to go through but everyone was very kind and the process was pretty quick and effortless.

Did you experience side effects?

The only side effect was a pain in my arm at the injection site and my arm feeling “heavy”. The second day was the worst day pain wise and a wall of fatigue hit me but the symptoms have seemed to subside as of now. Those are all I’ve experienced thus far. They also make you sit and rest after you get your vaccine for 15 minutes and monitor you to ensure you don’t have a reaction and are safe to go home. 


Alison

Alison is a 26-year-old Hoboken resident and Physical Therapist.

How were the medical expenses covered?

The hospital I work at covers the cost of vaccination for its employees and has also extended it to high-risk family members of its employees.

How did the scheduling for both vaccine doses work?

We were emailed a signup sheet for the initial dose and we got a follow-up call shortly after to schedule our second dose.

Have you had COVID-19?

Yes, I had COVID-19 in mid-March 2020.

When did you get your vaccine and what type of vaccine?

I got my first Moderna dose on Christmas Eve {Santa really hooked me up} and the second dose on January 21st at Saint Michaels Medical Center in Newark.

Did you experience side effects?

The first dose wasn’t too bad. A sore arm and some moderate chills later in the evening. The second dose got me a 101 fever, chills, muscle aches, but my arm wasn’t as sore {thank goodness because I could toss and turn pain free}. Overall my symptoms lasted 8-12 hours and I felt pretty much fine by mid-morning the next day both times. I would take these two semi-tough nights over the two weeks of the awful COVID-19 I felt any day of the week! Just be sure to have some fluids and Tylenol handy.


Cameron

Cameron is a 30-year-old Hoboken resident and Behavior Analyst.

How were the medical expenses covered?

My insurance covered it.

How did the scheduling for both vaccine doses work?

I emailed the Health Department and they sent me a link for healthcare workers only.

Have you had COVID-19?

I’ve been exposed and tested positive, but the only symptom was a headache.

When did you get your vaccine and what type of vaccine?

I received the Moderna vaccine on January 4th at a Hudson County site in Kearny.

Did you experience side effects?

About five hours after the vaccine I had a sore arm for about 24 hours.


Brittany Kenney

Brittany is a 27-year-old Hoboken resident and registered nurse.

How were the medical expenses covered?

I have insurance but my job provided us with the vaccine.

How did the scheduling for both vaccine doses work?

I was able to schedule through my job at my hospital that I work at for the first vaccine online and they scheduled my second dose at the time of my first dose.

Have you had COVID-19?

No.

When did you get your vaccine and what type of vaccine?

I got my first Pfizer dose on December 22nd and the second dose on January 12th at work, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Did you experience side effects?

With the first dose, I had a sore arm.  After the second dose, my arm was a little sorer than it was for the first shot and I felt pretty tired even after 10 hours of sleep. As the day went on I never gained the full energy I normally do, even after caffeine. I would describe what I was feeling more like fatigue and not just being tired. I experienced mild body aches throughout the day but no fevers. I took Tylenol and that helped to relieve the body aches and sore arm. The second day after the second dose I was still more tired than normal but did not have any other side effects and was able to work.


Kelsey Waldron

Kelsey is a Guttenburgh resident and a healthcare worker.

How were the medical expenses covered?

I have health insurance through my job.

How did the scheduling for both vaccine doses work?

My facility provided me with the vaccine, I work in a long-term care center. They scheduled them exactly three weeks apart. 

Have you had COVID-19?

I was never diagnosed but was sick in late March 2019. I tested positive for antibodies in May.

When did you get your vaccine and what type of vaccine?

My first Pfizer vaccine was on December 29th and the second on January 19th at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center.

Did you experience side effects?

After the first vaccine, I had some chills, fatigue, swelling of my lymph nodes, and an earache the next day as well as a sore arm for four days. After the second vaccine in the AM, around 1AM the next day I had severe chills and body aches the next day. Since then I’ve been great!


Madigan Petrie

Madigan is a 23-year-old Hoboken resident and registered nurse at Hoboken University Medical Center.

How were the medical expenses covered?

The cost of the vaccine was completely covered by the hospital for all employees. 

How did the scheduling for both vaccine doses work?

Once the hospital knew they were receiving the vaccine they sent out information for staff to sign up through their supervisors. My manager scheduled both my doses, with the second dose being 28 days {give or take two days before or after} after the first dose. 

Have you had COVID-19?

No.

When did you get your vaccine and what type of vaccine?

I got my first dose of the Moderna vaccine on December 29th and the second dose on January 28th at the Hoboken University Medical Center.

Did you experience side effects?

Thankfully, the only side effect I experienced was a very sore arm, which lasted about two-three days. Of course, any side effect isn’t ideal but I’ll take a sore arm over COVID-19 any day.


Francesca Tubito

Francesca is a 31-year-old Jersey City resident and Cancer Genetic Counselor {NewYork Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine}. 

How were the medical expenses covered?

My insurance covered it {employee benefit}.

How did the scheduling for both vaccine doses work?

For the first dose, the administrative chief gave us a choice of three days to present for vaccination to ensure that no one day was overbooked. Then, I scheduled the second dose on my way out and actually rescheduled it to a more convenient day and time through the online portal {Weill Cornell Connect}.

Have you had COVID-19?

No.

When did you get your vaccine and what type of vaccine?

I got my first Pfizer dose on December 29th and the second dose on January 21st at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine.

Did you experience side effects?

After my first dose, the only side effect I had was pain at the injection site for two-three days. After the second dose, I had every common vaccine side effect, pain at the injection site, fatigue/malaise, headache, muscle aches, chills, joint aches, and a low-grade fever. I got my 2second shot at 9AM and around 4PM, I started feeling malaise. Around 6PM, I got very fatigued and a headache started. Then, I had chills {I had two hoodies on and was still freezing} and had muscle aches. Around 9PM, the joint aches began. I felt pain everywhere, but notably in my hips, toes, and knees. I took my temperature, and it was 99.9, so I took three ibuprofen, which helped with some of the pain and let me sleep. Fortunately, I felt better when I woke up, but still a bit tired. The pain at the injection site lasted two-three days again. I had a pretty serious reaction, but it only means that my body is indeed immune to COVID-19. The symptoms were my immune system working. Had I read a few of these stories before getting vaccinated {which wasn’t really possible, as obviously I was one of the first}, I may have scheduled my second dose on a Friday to have the weekend to recover, or taken the next day off from work just in case this happened. I have heard similar stories from a bunch of other healthcare providers, but, also, there have been a bunch of people who had minimal or no side effects. I don’t want this to scare anyone. I do recommend individuals get vaccinated if they have no contraindications, but I hope that my story and similar ones provide information for people to be prepared/have ibuprofen or acetaminophen on hand and schedule their appointment conveniently.


Julia

Julia is a 29-year-old Hoboken resident and Clinical Pharmacist. 

How did the scheduling for both vaccine doses work?

I Received an appointment for the first vaccine through work and booked the second appointment while at the first appointment.

Have you had COVID-19?

No.

When did you get your vaccine and what type of vaccine?

I received the first Pfizer on December 21st and the second dose on January 11th at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Did you experience side effects?

I had a sore arm, no worse than with any other vaccine, otherwise none.

See here to register for a vaccine in New Jersey.

If you’d like to share your experience, email hello@hobokengirl.com.

EMAIL BUTTONS


Written by:

Victoria is HG's Associate Editor and Social Media Coordinator for the Hoboken Historical Museum + Fire Department Museum. She is a fourth-generation Hoboken native, BNR in the Mile Square, and Jersey City. Through playing softball in town for fourteen years, playing the trumpet for the Hoboken High School Redwings Band, and graduating from New Jersey City University, these two cities have a special place in her heart. When she isn’t Style Assisting or volunteering at Symposia Bookstore, she’s exploring everything the Concrete Jungle has to offer. You can catch her at art exhibitions, local festivities, traveling, diving into a new book, thrifting, or indulging in some form of arts and crafts.


Appears within: