The good news about Johnson & Johnson getting approval for their Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is it opened up a lot more appointments. Over 70,000 of the one shot doses were sent to New Jersey after the FDA granted emergency authorization use. If there’s any bad news, and none of it is really bad, it’s the efficacy rate is lower than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines but those were tested in trials before the mutations were out. Had they been tested at the same time experts say the rates would have been similar.

Well I received the one shot J&J vaccine on Monday. With it being the newest vaccine and receiving the protection all at once people have been wondering about side effects. As I share my experience please keep in mind everyone is different. If there has been one commonality regarding the side effects of any of these vaccines it’s that there IS NO commonality. So don’t let this steer you away from getting it. No matter the side effects it’s better than becoming infected with the virus that has now killed 525,000 Americans.

On Monday at 2pm I got the shot at the CVS inside the Target on Nassau Boulevard in Princeton. The process was super easy. The longest part was the waiting 15 minutes after the injection to monitor you and be sure you don’t have a rare anaphylactic reaction.

Then I was on to work with no issues whatsoever. Many talk about extreme arm soreness at injection site but as the hours went on I was feeling very fortunate that I wasn’t even having that. By that night and even next morning I was side effect free. This was going to be a cakewalk.

Get our free mobile app

Then about 8:30am everything changed. I was driving my two youngest sons to their schools when I felt a twinge in my left leg. A muscle ache. Within five minutes I was having mild aches throughout my body. No big deal. I could handle this. Then the dizziness hit about ten minutes after that. Mild at first. Again, not a big deal. Hey at least I knew the vaccine was doing its job.

By 9:15 though, I was wracked with chills, severe body aches, utter exhaustion and nausea. Ah, the nausea. It was embarrassing when I had to pull over on a street in front of a bunch of businesses and jump out of the car to, well, you can guess what happened that was embarrassing.

Within 45 minutes I went from feeling fine to feeling completely awful. I was shocked. I didn’t think it was going to happen to me. I called my boss and she graciously told me to get home and stay there. And I did. In bed. All day. The room spinning, freezing and generally serving as a sleep tomb for bizarre, lucid dreams. Were these dreams also from the vaccine? No idea. I hadn’t read that as a side effect but again it’s such a new vaccine they’re still gathering data.

It went on throughout the day and night with exhaustion and dizziness, nausea and chills. Oh and the worst headache you could imagine short of a concussion. But no fever. I found that interesting.

The nausea was the first thing to go away in the night. By morning the body aches are gone, the chills have vanished. The headache has lessened considerably as has the dizziness. I’m still totally exhausted and the new wrinkle is a 101 fever. But I’m assuming that’s a sign you’re at the tail end of things.

So I’m going in to work but missed yesterday. When you think of how many people spent weeks in the hospital battling COVID-19 or worse yet, succumbing to it, this was nothing. It’s a day. Take advantage of the vaccines that are available. It’s going to bring about herd immunity if enough of us do it. It’s going to bring us back to normal. And that’s the best prognosis all.

Famous NJ people from A to Z (almost)