COVID-19 Vaccine Survivor: My Marginally Harrowing Journey

Jason M. Williams
4 min readMar 6, 2021
Photo Credit: CDC / Lauren Bishop

As a public service to those considering the COVID-19 vaccine but concerned about the reported side-effects of the second dose, I share the journal of my experience. I hope it can provide insight and assuage any concerns people may have.

Day 1:

11:40 — Walk into the vaccine facility. The percentage of people in line who say some variation of “there are a lot more folks here than when I got my first shot” is roughly 100%.

11:44 — The line is getting too compressed, so a member of the National Guard closes a gap in the traffic cones to extend the barrier and force the line to snake 30 feet further before turning around. When he walks away: righteous indignation. People just walk through the cones. A woman who’d just said she would “walk through fire” for the vaccine has decided, however, she won’t walk 60 more feet.

11:52 — In line for the vaccine. A guy from the National Guard asks a girl in the line: “Hey, you look familiar. Where do I know you from?” The old “chat up the person in line for a pandemic vaccine” move. Classic, but still audacious.

11:57 — I receive the 2nd dose. As I leave, I see the door handles and am convinced I could lick them with impunity.

12:16 — I leave the vaccination center and there are geese everywhere. Milling around the parking lot. Flying in multiple V’s high overhead. The overcast afternoon filled with croaking and honking. I contemplate briefly that the vaccine may have activated a mutant gene of mine, and I am now endowed with the capacity to summon and control geese. Such powers would make me a formidable arch-villain, because geese, as we all know, are real bastards.

2:02 — Back home, I mention to my wife that I’m tired. I ran this morning and didn’t have time for caffeine before I went to the vaccine place. Despite this, she is convinced I am now fully in the throes of the side effects, or possibly coronavirus itself.

3:13 — Though I intend to read a book, I spend over an hour largely motionless, scrolling through social media. Such lethargy can surely only be explained by the vaccine.

4:52 — I take the book into my home office to read it. Instead, I play FIFA for 40 minutes. Confirmed that focus is clearly hampered by vaccine side-effects.

5:49 — I contemplate all the things I might be able to do after a couple of weeks. See my parents, who are also vaccinated. Feel safer visiting with friends on the deck. Eat on a patio at a restaurant and smugly, loudly express how we hadn’t eaten at a restaurant in over a year. Glorious.

7:16 — No discernible issues. My arm is more sore than it has been before.

10:50 — I read two pages of that book and then go to bed.

Day 2:

6:55 AM — I get up to watch my favorite English soccer team play a noon UK-time kickoff. I am feeling tired. But that seems pretty reasonable.

7:07 AM — When the forward drives in that channel, you can’t just keep backing up! Come over to stop the cross! Unbelievable.

9:10 — Unusual fatigue. This is the first time I feel I’ve had bodily symptoms. But nothing too troubling.

10:04 — Fatigue continues. Slight muscle aches.

10:58 — Still tired and a little achy. Not too noticeable. Maybe a touch warm? May doze off for a bit.

12:14 — The wine the turtle offers me is blue and sizzling. Waves of heat radiate from the chalice, but it does not singe my fingers. It slakes my thirst, tasting of blackcurrent, boot leather, and plum, with the unmistakable finish of cold Tab. As I consume it, my eyes tremble and water, but the tears somehow dissolve an obscuring film. This melts away like an opening curtain, and beyond the proscenium arch of my vision, I behold the crystalline structure of the universe.

12:19 — Yeah, so I’m pretty sure I’m feverish now.

1:11 — My wife insists there are no more blankets in the house beyond the ones piled atop me. Beneath the covers, I see the soonest Amazon can deliver more blankets is two days from now. Jeff Bezos is history’s greatest monster.

2:33 — Hazy now. May be covered in blankets. May be encased in the clammy bowels of a tauntaun. The cold penetrates the carcass. Algor mortis has set in. Damn you to hell, Solo.

3:14 — My wife makes me oatmeal cranberry cookies and they are absolutely fantastic. It’s such a thoughtful gesture and I feel I may be getting better almost immediately.

3:22 — Shivering again. Straight to hell, you filthy smuggler.

5:11 — I awaken, tired but no longer feverish. The book is still on the bed next to me.

7:15 — I feel well enough to help cook dinner. I have emerged victorious against the mildly annoying response of my nervous system to potentially life-saving medicine. I must post my heroic journey on Facebook, and then maybe get to that book in a bit.



Jason M. Williams

I make stuff. Stories, software, poems, etc. Stated opinions do not reflect those of my employer. (he/him/his)