After emphatically proclaiming five months ago that the COVID-19 vaccination would only be for those age 65 and older, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida have officially opened the vaccine up to those age 18 and older.
Teenagers who are 16 and 17 may also receive the vaccine but can only do so with the consent of a parent or legal guardian.
Vaccination sites are scattered across the Sunshine State. In Tallahassee the most frequented vaccination sites are at Florida A&M University, which is administering the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and Florida State University, which is administering the Pfizer vaccine.
Due to the expansion of eligibility, seniors and students alike have been able to either walk-in or schedule an appointment to receive their dose. Other vaccination sites around Tallahassee are administering different versions of the vaccine. The Woodville Community Center is offering free COVID-19 vaccinations using the Johnson & Johnson dosage.
While the expansion of vaccination eligibility is exciting and seems promising for the future of our country living with COVD-19, we are still in uncharted waters. A few Rattlers who have received the vaccine needed at least 48 hours to recover from their mysterious side effects.
First semester senior Imani Thomas works at an elementary school and was afforded the opportunity to be vaccinated before the state of Florida officially opened it up to residents under 50 years old.
Thomas received the Moderna vaccine and got her first shot in March and her second shot on April 6.
“The first shot was fine, but it definitely heightened my allergies. I had the worst allergies I’d ever had in my life. Now, the second shot was horrible. I felt like I had a literal ton of bricks on me. I went home and was crying to my mom because it was so terrible. Twenty-four hours later I did feel a little bit better but I’m still just really tired and have been throwing up,” Thomas said.
Livi Grant, a former business administration student, also had the opportunity to get vaccinated. Grant saw a different side of the Moderna vaccination. “After my first dose of the Moderna vaccine I experienced soreness in my left arm but lucky for me that was about it. I couldn’t lift my arm all the way over my head after getting it. Other than that, I didn’t experience any other side effects,” Grant said.
Grant is due for her second shot in about two weeks and hopes her experience is as smooth as the first one.
Both Pfizer and Moderna shots have been difficult to cope with after the fact. J-school professor Jeff Wilkinson had his own run-in with the Pfizer vaccine. After receiving his second and final shot on April 7, Wilkinson almost felt the need to cancel his remote class for the day due to side effects.
“After I received my second shot, I had chills all morning for almost six hours. I seriously thought about cancelling class because I couldn’t get out of bed,” Wilkinson said.
As students continue to get vaccinated it is important to understand your body. While side effects from the vaccine are possible, they do not happen to everyone. WebMD advises those receiving the vaccine to boost their immune system as much as seven days before being vaccinated. Despite the aches and pains you may experience in your shoulder after the jab, don’t pre-medicate.
For aches, chills and mild allergic reactions that may occur after the vaccination, taking acetaminophen or an NSAID is generally OK, according to WebMD.