Kimberly Gibson, the lead float caregiver in the Tri-Cities region, glanced at her COVID-19 vaccination card to recall the dates she received each dose of the vaccine. The first Moderna shot was administered on January 12 and the second and final dose on February 9, 28 days later as is required.

“I felt like it would be safer for myself, my family, and my clients if I got the vaccine,” Kimberly affirmed when asked why she chose to get the vaccine. In addition, she enters so many people’s homes, unsure of what they’re doing or what their hygiene standards are when she’s not there. Not to mention all the errands she runs for clients, going to large, crowded areas like Walmart or the grocery store. Like many of us, she was fearful of going to the store for her own groceries and was even apprehensive about going to work and interacting with people outside of her home.

“I feel more confident,” she emphasized. Like the massive weight of anxiety over buying groceries or simply leaving the house has been lifted from her shoulders. Kimberly says she was a little nervous at first about getting the vaccine. Her husband once cited the common misconception that the vaccine could change her DNA, to which she jokingly replied, “So what?! Maybe I’ll get superpowers.”

To ease her anxieties, Kimberly did some research and found that scientists have been testing coronavirus vaccines for years. That this isn’t entirely new. There are many other coronaviruses out there; this is just a new vaccine for a new strain of coronavirus. And while the technology itself for an mRNA vaccine is new, it has been studied for over a decade, and neither interacts with nor affects a person’s DNA.

The experience of physically getting the vaccine was very quick and easy. Kimberly waited in a very short line of healthcare workers at a vaccine clinic set up inside the local health department. She was in and out right away, minus the 30-minute observation period she spent after each dose since she is prone to allergic reactions. She had no allergic response after either dose, but a few hours after the first dose, her arm became sore around the injection site. No other side effects occurred, save for a mild headache, “which could have just been a headache, who knows,” she added.

Her side effects were a bit more pronounced following the second dose. About 6 hours after the injection, the soreness in her arm intensified more than the first. Enough that it kept her up at night. Around 12 hours after the second dose she had mild flu-like symptoms, such as achiness and a low-grade fever, which lasted about 24 hours. The following day she felt good as new.

Now, nearly 2 months have passed since Kimberly’s been fully vaccinated. Physically, she says, “I feel fine.” There are no lingering side effects, or any other real indicator she’d even gotten the vaccine. Mentally, however, is where she feels the effects of the vaccine the most. In the undeniable sense of security.  “I feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Even if I do get COVID now, I probably won’t get very sick. And I have asthma, so why risk it?!”

She emphatically stated that the vaccine is much less scary than dying of COVID, or worse, giving it to your loved ones. “If you don’t care about yourself, that’s fine, but what about your parents, grandparents, people at church?”

Since becoming vaccinated, Kimberly’s been doing her part to gently encourage people who’ve expressed hesitation, fear, or disinterest in getting the vaccine. She’s spoken to a lot of people, including her clients and her own mother, who are now planning on getting vaccinated. She feels better ensuring that her family is safe and knows that just the act of encouraging people to get the vaccine will itself save lives.

Curious about what to expect? Learn more on the CDC’s vaccine info page.
Want to hear more personal accounts and experiences? Here is a wonderful website with information, testimonials, and stories about caregivers who have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.