Vaccines in a Pandemic: An Unprecedented Experience


Audrey Lane poses for a selfie with her vaccine paperwork from the Seattle U vaccination site.

Zack Hayes , Journalist

As the coronavirus has continued to make life difficult for people all around the world, the steady dispersion of vaccinations has become a light at the end of the tunnel for many. COVID-19 vaccinations have transformed from a somewhat abstract idea into an exciting reality, and many students and teachers around the Olympia community have begun to receive the first rounds of vaccinations. Different people have experienced varying side effects and symptoms from the vaccine, but most have the same perspective about the shot: It’s the key to solving this pandemic. 

Audrey Lane, a senior at OHS was recently vaccinated as she has worked as a volunteer at the Seattle U vaccination clinic, which vaccinates all of their workers. “My experience was really good. It was super cool to see people finally getting vaccinated after a year of not knowing when we were going to make progress towards getting rid of COVID,” said Lane. She continued, “I was kind of nervous but mostly excited. I was also pleasantly surprised that I could not feel the shot at all. It was definitely one of the least painful shots I’ve had. I looked away and didn’t even know she had put the shot in my arm. After the first dose I didn’t have any symptoms or anything abnormal, but then after the second dose 24 hours later I had a really low fever for a couple of hours, but I’ve heard that’s totally fine because it means your immune system has kicked in and is working.” Julie Rix, a high school Spanish and English teacher in Hilo, Hawaii also received the vaccine in mid-February. She qualified for the vaccination as an essential worker and explained her experience getting the shot. “It was easy- it took 30 minutes total including filling out forms and waiting for 15 minutes of observation after the shot in case I had any serious side effects. 

It hurt a little. Kurt (her husband) told me that if anyone was going to have side effects, that it would be me and not him. Nice, huh?” laughed Rix. She explained that it overall felt similar to other shots she has gotten. 

Curtis Baird, an elementary school teacher in North Thurston School District also qualified for a shot because he is immunocompromised. “I was nervous,” said Baird. “Felt like a flu shot… a bit more painful. I was shaky for about 20 minutes after.” He went on to experience tiredness and pain in his arm until noon the following day. Baird got the shot produced by Pfizer and expects to receive his second dose in mid-to-late March. “I’m super nervous about the second shot because all the reports say it knocks you flat for a couple days,” he said. Baird is one of many teachers and high-risk people to get vaccinated and is one of the first in a process that will likely take up the next few months.

Some controversy has also arisen around the vaccine, as some people are nervous that it could have negative side effects because of its shortened testing period. Additionally, some people are simply afraid of shots. “I would say that it’s not as scary as you think,” said Lane. “It’s super painless, and it’s a small act you can do to help stop all the deaths and sicknesses and get everything back to normal.” Baird stated, “One hundred thousand percent worth a little discomfort so we can get back to normal.” Evidently, the overall consensus in the community is that the vaccine is an exciting solution to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has the ability to change our lives back to a sort of normalcy from the past. But how soon will all of that come? We may just have to wait and see.