Senior gets COVID vaccine, debunks all misconceptions


Ainslee Harvey is an is a heart patient confined to her home during her senior year after having open-heart surgery in February 2020. She recently had the COVID-19 vaccine, and would like to debunk all the misconceptions and conspiracy theories out there about the vaccine and its effects.


I won’t lie, it’s cold.

It’s the kind of cold that burns.

The burning was brief, and it was worth it because now I’m vaccinated against the virus that has killed over 2.4 million people worldwide. 

I was able to get the vaccine because I have a pre-existing condition, which means that while I was able to be vaccinated, I’ve been on lockdown for almost a year, during my senior year of high school. The walls have closed in multiple times, and I had basically lost all hope of ever seeing my family, friends or the outside world again. So when the opportunity came for them to stick the needle in my arm, I leaped at the chance.

There are a multitude of misconceptions regarding the vaccine, so I’m here as someone who’s actually received it, to tell people what it’s actually like.

You receive a vaccination card that shows whether or not you have received the first and second doses, date of birth, and other important information. You then show the card to the medical professional who is giving the injections. On my first dose, I thought it would be smart to get it in my dominant arm since I move it more frequently, and it would help with the soreness. I recommend not doing that.

Medical personnel, of course, disinfect where the needle will go in and then stick it in the upper part of your arm. The vaccine itself is extremely cold, so there is some burning, but it’s not that intense or for an extended amount of time. That’s the extent of the pain or discomfort from the shot itself. You then are asked to wait 15 minutes to make sure you are not having a reaction. I  had to wait 30 minutes because I am allergic to a considerable number of medical products. Thankfully the COVID-19 vaccine is not one of them. 

After the immediate dose, I had a mild headache that a cold Sprite fixed. What most people feel, and what I myself felt, is soreness. I’ll be honest, after about two hours my arm was extremely sore (which is why on my second dose, I got the vaccine in my non-dominant arm). However, by the time I woke up the next morning the soreness was barely noticeable; it had decreased drastically. Two days after I got the shot, my soreness was completely gone. So as long as a person isn’t afraid of being sore and a possible headache, he or she shouldn’t have any qualms about getting the vaccine. 

There are plenty of misconceptions that I will be more than happy to disprove since the vaccine is actually in my system.

One of them is that people have died from the vaccine. Not true, people have died since receiving the vaccine but from other factors, not the vaccine itself.

Another is that if people are allergic they shouldn’t get it. My mom has an autoimmune disease, and she received the vaccine. It was harder on her than it was on me. She was fatigued for a few days and just basically felt like she had a head cold–the same way she feels after receiving the flu shot every year. It is extremely rare that someone is allergic to the vaccine. If that’s a fear that a person has, he or she  can ask a medical professional what is in it and whether or not they should be concerned . Medical professionals will tell you. They are there to help people and make sure they don’t die, so they are  willing to tell someone whether or not the vaccine could contain something they are allergic to, but again, it’s not likely that it does.

The third misconception is that the vaccine was developed too quickly and is not safe. Again I have taken the vaccine; I can tell you it is safe. The vaccine was not hastily-developed, and the trials commenced as all pharmaceutical trials do. They would not have released it to the public if it was not properly developed and tested.

There’s also the notion that receiving the vaccine will give someone COVID. Also not true, as all vaccines are, the shot is to prevent someone from dying if becoming infected with the virus just as  the flu shot makes sure that if someone gets the flu, that that person won’t die from it. That does not, however,  mean that someone won’t experience minor symptoms after the shot; that just means it’s working.

Another misconstrued idea is that once someone has the vaccine, masks, social distancing and other precautions will no longer be necessary. This, unfortunately, is not true. Until more people have received the vaccine, it is still best to continue with all precautions.

My favorite misconception, that of my 80-something-year-old great-grandmother, Nana,  is that the government is inserting a chip in a person when he or she gets the vaccine. Why would the government need to do that? The moment we are born, the government assigns us a social security number. Later, we  get a phone, a drivers license, a bank account, etc. All of these things make the government aware of us; government officials have no need or desire to chip us–we’ve been on their radar since birth. This chipping thing sounds like it comes from people wearing tinfoil hats who think the apocalypse is nigh, so I don’t think we should take them very seriously. However, my Nana, who believes it, has in fact gotten her dose of the vaccine, and she is fine though she still an older woman in Nebraska who believes in Facebook conspiracies…but she got her vaccine so some progress was made. 

I highly recommend getting the vaccine. I can attest that it won’t kill you, the symptoms are minor and that a majority of the misconceptions you’ve heard are just that, misconceptions. I would love to be back out in the world, but the rest of my family has yet to be vaccinated,so it will have to wait. If the vaccine is offered to you, I suggest you take it not only to protect yourself but also others as well.