Physiotherapist from Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, Sarisha Singh, receives her Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Image: Tasneem Ranglia
Physiotherapist from Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, Sarisha Singh, receives her Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Image: Tasneem Ranglia

Vaccinated frontliner details her jab experience, side effects

By Kelly Jane Turner Time of article published Feb 22, 2021

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Durban - A physiotherapist from KwaZulu-Natal says people should not be discouraged by the potential side effects of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because the benefits of the shot far outweighs any inconvenienced experience.

Sarisha Singh, who works at the Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital detailed her experience of receiving her vaccination over a period of three days.

The evening after her shot Singh said she started to feel symptoms such as a headache and extreme fatigue.

The next day, body aches and an increasing temperature sent her home early from work.

Three days after receiving her vaccine, she reported that her symptoms had gone and she felt rejuvenated with her energy levels returned to normal.

Singh told IOL that she kept an account of her experience because she wanted to create awareness and to help society at large to mitigate the fear and scepticism surrounding the vaccine.

“I understand the process of vaccination and similar to other vaccines, I anticipated some side effects. I also know that strong side effects indicate a good immune response,” she said.

Here is her detailed account of her vaccine experience:

Thursday 18 February 2020

11:45: Followed all the preliminary documentation and protocols to enable me to receive the vaccine.

Temp: 36.6°

Phew! Our moment as frontline health workers has arrived.

Feeling blessed and a deep sense of gratitude. We are no longer defenceless against the Coronavirus. This feeling is juxtaposed with anxiousness of receiving the vaccine and the possibility of side effects.

12:15: Seated at the vaccination station. Greeted by a smiling face Sister Jabu, administered the vaccine- painless. What a pleasurable experience.

Wanting to act like a true millennial a selfie and a few pictures were captured to document this historic event.

Proceeded to the designated observation area.- 15 minutes later exited the vaccination site and returned to the physiotherapy department.

14:30: Felt rather flushed a colleague tested my temperature, now 37.1° -an increase noted and continued with treating patients.

17:00: Mild headache, nothing serious able to cope with activities at home.

20:00: The headache intensified and now a mild sore throat and extreme fatigue, at this stage I took a Pando.

20:30: Extreme fatigue - retired to bed.

Friday 19 February 2020

01:00: Woke up feeling cold and sweating, experiencing rigors.

Got out of bed dressed into winter pajamas and socks added a blanket to the bed - hoping the extra warmth would stop the shaking.

The body pains and aches intensified been alone was now SCARY. My mind kept thinking about how patients coped with these symptoms.

Anxiety levels increased and I kept telling myself that these symptoms are good, it meant that my body was responding to the vaccine.

03:00: Still awake and the myalgia (body pains) intensified. Did some deep breathing exercises and fell asleep.

05:00: Rose from my slumber to get ready for work, felt like a bus hit me.

Body ached, felt tender. There would be no morning yoga. My quadriceps hurt along with my lower back.

At the pace of a snail I got ready for work.

08:40: Started feeling flushed, waterey eyed. My colleague did a temp check, temp 37°8 (low grade pyrexia).

Had some fluids and proceeded with work.

9:22: Experienced light-headedness and fatigue, this time the thermometer beeped and flashed red, temp 38.7°

Proceeded to sit down had some fluids a few deep breaths and the body ache intensified.

10:30: Informed my manager that I was feeling ill- and left work.

11:00: Home- routine decontamination in the garage showered had 2 Panados and fell asleep.

15:00 Awoke feeling rejuvenated, temp subsided, feeling good.

18:00: Felt well, back to normal. Then suddenly the body aches started and a fever again.

20: 00 : Dressed warmly, added a blanket, took 2 more Panados and fell asleep.

Saturday 20 February 2020

05:00 Awake this morning, feeling rejuvenated! Energy levels returned to normal.

Temp 36,6°

Sure as the sun would rise in the east and set in the west, a new day dawned and 72 hours later I am symptom FREE!

God is good all of the time!

Despite these side-effects and the inconvenienced experienced the potential benefit of a vaccine out weights the discomfort and disarray.

Please don't be discouraged by the potential side effects. Knowledge is power, knowing that you can experience side effects and what some of them are would enable symptomatic treatment.

I actually implore my fellow South Africans and humanity at large to vaccinate.

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