A Highly Allergic Singaporean's Covid-19 Vaccine Experience
I’m Highly Allergic! They Told Me Not To... But I Took It Anyway
With Singapore rolling out the Covid-19 Vaccination program for all its citizens and residents since the start of 2021, the public has understandably displayed mixed feelings about the risks and potential unknown side effects of taking a vaccine that has been developed and implemented within such a short time. While many have embraced it as a welcome shield against the pandemic, others have questioned the safety of allowing a drug which has been tested within such a short time frame.
I, Lynn Tiang, personally have a legitimate reason to be concerned. Being highly allergic to many medications including the common ones like Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, and Maxolon, the risk of experiencing adverse side effects for even a well-tested drug is multiplied greatly for me. My previous allergic encounters have included reactions such as swollen eyes, difficulty breathing, palpitations, anxiety, agitation, and Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) . For these Covid-19 vaccines, there has been insufficient time to observe any potential long-lasting or serious side effects from the drug on highly allergic people like me, due to such a small sample size, so I do not know what to expect. Thus, the big question in my mind was: is the Covid-19 vaccine safe for highly allergic persons like me? Should I wait and see for more results from the drug before taking it?
However, after much thought, I decided to register and take the vaccine anyway!
Why did I decide to take the Covid-19 Vaccination although I am highly allergic?
These are the factors I considered.
I am a business owner and the co-founder of Property Giant in Singapore.
I am a mother of three children.
I live in the same house with my aged parents.
Although I do not exercise regularly, I am overall quite healthy with no pre-existing illnesses. I am in my late thirties, do not smoke or drink, and maintain a healthy diet with supplements.
I realized that my numerous daily responsibilities include meeting and close interaction with many clients of different ages, as well as caring for my family of 3 precious children. As an entrepreneur, I am willing to take the calculated personal risk and get myself vaccinated, in order to preserve the safety of my clients, friends, and family.
Which Covid Vaccine did I take?
I was given the Pfizer Biontech vaccine. This vaccine is administered in 2 doses, 21 days apart.
What was My experience taking the Covid Vaccination?
On 6th April 2021, I took my first dose at a General Practitioner's clinic. Initially, I felt a little anxious and apprehensive, not knowing what might happen to me after I took the jab. There were quite a number of elderly patients ahead of my turn, but the waiting time for vaccination was short , and soon I was in the doctor’s room.
Like many others, wild thoughts were running through my mind, such as what will happen to my body after the covid jab. I’m not so worried about the mild side effects but rather will I get an adverse reaction such as anaphylaxis? Will I be rushed to the hospital on time? What will happen to my family and young kids? To be honest, I was battling these negative thoughts but I told myself that I have to make the first move, in order to protect myself, my family and for the world to recover.
The injection was administered by Dr Lye, a very caring and professional doctor who is aware of my medical history.
The jab itself was fast and painless into my left arm, using a fine needle. Thereafter, they presented me with a Covid-19 vaccination card, as proof that I have taken the shot.
After receiving the dose, I was asked to wait for 30 minutes under observation at the clinic, to monitor if I had any symptoms of side effects. At first, I experienced some hot flushes, but after I sat down, I felt back to normal. At the end of the half hour, I left the clinic.
After 24 hours I did not have any adverse allergic side effects such as swollen eyes or breathing difficulties. However I had muscle ache on my arm at the site of injection and has slight difficulty lifting it up for the next 2 days. My palms and feet felt slightly chill on the second night (which is more than 24 hours after my first dose) and I had to wear a jacket to sleep. All symptoms disappeared on the 3rd day. I consistently drank fluids and took a lot of Vitamin C daily to maintain my immunity level.
My second shot was taken on 27 April evening. This time, I opted to jab my right arm, as I heard that some people experienced severe swelling when they used the same arm for both doses.
Like the first time, the second jab was fast and painless with a fine needle, and I went home after 30 minutes of monitoring.
What Side Effects Did I Experience after the Second Dose?
My arm started aching more within a few hours after the jab.
By the next morning, 12 hours after my second shot, I was experiencing all the common side effects, including Fever (highest 38.6), chills, body ache, headache, muscles and joint pain, arm soreness, tiredness, and weakness. I didn't even have the strength to get out of bed, so I rested in bed the whole day. I also experienced a weird metallic taste which made whatever food I ate taste awful.
How long did the Side Effects last?
Thankfully, all the side effects that I experienced did not last long. In fact, they were gone within 48 hours after the injection!
Conclusion: Do I regret taking the vaccine?
Definitely not! In fact, I am grateful that the vaccination was successful and proud of the fact that I took this step to do my part for the community. Now I am also able to serve all my valuable clients better by giving them the peace of mind that I am vaccinated. This experience proves that even highly allergic individuals like me can safely take the vaccine too, and I hope that this sharing will encourage all members of the public to proceed to take their shots if they have not already done so!
Of course, I cannot guarantee that everyone will have the same positive experience, as I am not a medical professional. If you are highly allergic to certain medications or unsure about your general health status, please be sure to consult your own trusted doctor or medical advisor before making a decision.
I am thankful to the government of Singapore for its fast Mass Vaccine Program with a Well-Planned Rollout.
May everyone stay healthy, and stay safe!