Smooth Sailing After My First COVID-19 Vaccine Shot

Smooth Sailing After My First COVID-19 Vaccine Shot

Eyelids fluttering open to a new day, I mentally searched my body for signs that anything was different. But a sore arm with a Band-Aid was the only evidence of my vaccination 12 hours earlier. 

No headache, fever, chills, or any more fatigue than usual, which I was informed could be expected from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine.

I was relieved because when I first left the pharmacy, strange things were happening. My injection arm was numb and tingling, a sensation that later tap-danced across my face. I felt loopy, as if I had downed a beer too quickly, and an old familiar ache soon settled in my chest.

I turned in early when I got home and reminded myself that such symptoms have been reoccurring throughout my sarcoidosis journey. By morning, they had all disappeared. In the days that followed, no side effects popped up. 

The flare-up after my shot was likely just the usual sarcoidosis oddities, I told a friend awaiting her turn. Or it could’ve just been my body in shock that I was out past dark on a Saturday, a sentiment she gets with all the sheltering we’ve been doing this past year. 

I’ve been ready since 2021 rolled in for my shot in the arm. The wait was grueling, but it gave me plenty of time to dispel any concerns I had about being vaccinated. 

In late January, it was reported that the the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines pose little risk to those with rare diseases or compromised immune systems. SarcoidosisUK, which recommends sarcoidosis patients be vaccinated, recorded a Q&A on the topic in March. 

But what really put my mind at ease was hearing firsthand from friends, family members, and others in the rare community who have gone before me. And the fact that no disturbing reports have emerged about widespread adverse reactions also helped. 

I had a pretty good sampling to draw from in my circle, including people who have underlying health conditions, who are immunocompromised, and whose ages range from the 20s to 80s. The worst they reported was tiredness. A handful of people with sarcoidosis have commented on my columns, only one of which experienced a significant flare. 

Pfizer’s vaccine is reported to be 94-95% effective at preventing COVID-19 after the second dose. That’s also when side effects are more likely to occur, according to findings by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The verdict is still out on how effective the vaccines are for those with impaired immune systems, and patients should work with their physicians to determine the best course.

While I wait for my second shot, one thing remains clear: The benefits still outweigh any risks to me. 


Brighter side: We all could use a break from bad news right now. So, I’ll be closing my columns with a roundup of positivity until we are able to say goodbye to masks, hug our loved ones, and leave our homes without fear. 

  • A welcome table: A new eatery that caters to those who are deaf and hard of hearing has opened in New Jersey. Deaf’s Delight Café in Newark is the first of its kind in the state, according to Patch. It’s owned by Sandra Rivers, whose parents were both deaf and struggled to find places to meet up with others socially.
  • Get a green thumb: Lowe’s is giving out free Garden-to-Go kits every Thursday through the end of this month. The kits can be reserved one week ahead on the company’s website. 


Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.


  1. Liz Scheffey says:

    GREat to hear your good news about your reaction to the covid vaccine. I will hope your second one goes just as well, and would love to hear your report on that. I am sure it will be similar. I am getting my first shot in 2 days, and am hopeful that it will provide the protection I am looking for.
    Thanks, Liz

    • Athena Merritt says:

      Thanks, Liz! I will provide an update after my second dose. Best of luck to you, and please report back so others can hear your experience as well.

  2. Kayem Drywell says:

    Thank you so much for sharing!
    I was also vaccinated. Pretty much, with both vaccines, I had the same reaction…just headache, body aches and fatigue. It all went away within 24 hours. So glad you are feeling well!

    • Athena Merritt says:

      You’re welcome, Kayem! I’m happy to hear you bounced back quickly! Thank you for providing details about the side effects you experienced. Comments like yours really help others still trying to decide about being vaccinated.

  3. Nicole says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with the vaccine. I will get mine tomorrow and was a little hesitant, although hopeful that it will eventually allows us to go back to a more regular life. So thanks for the post!

    • Athena Merritt says:

      I was hesitant at first too, Nicole. But, it feels wonderful to have protection beyond just a mask. I’m glad you’ll soon have the same. I hope your shot goes as smooth as mine!

    • Athena Merritt says:

      Good to hear! I hope the second goes the same. If you don’t mind, please let everyone know how it goes! Thanks.

  4. Gloria says:

    I’m 72 y/o in MS.I had no side effects from my vaccine injections Moderna first one just sore site. Second injection barely a little bit sore. I’ve had sarcoidosis since 1983 Dx in Memphis,TN.

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