More and more of you will be receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming days, weeks and months ahead.

I have spoken regularly with my very talented Daughter, Lauren Hurley Lauriello, throughout the COVID-19 health pandemic about this important topic so that we can share some potentially helpful advice.

Lauren is the Infection Preventionist Nurse at Brookdale Cape May.

I’m so proud of Lauren and there’s no doubt that she has been a HERO during the COVID-19 health pandemic.

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Lauren has taught me so much during the pandemic, that I want to give her public credit for this column.

Regardless of what information and opinions that we share with you here ... it is important that you speak directly with your healthcare provider, to determine what is best course of action in your particular situation ... as everyone is different and there is no “cookie-cutter,” one size fits all approach regarding COVID-19.

I spoke at length with Lauren about what we should do prior to and post vaccination(s).

Pfizer and Moderna are a two dose protocol, requiring a second vaccination at 21 and 28 days following the first vaccination.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a single dose.

You’ve no doubt heard about the various potential (common) side effects that may occur following your vaccination(s). They include:

Fever, chills, aches, joint and/or muscle pain, tiredness, headaches, nausea and swollen lymph nodes.

The side effects appear to be more common after the second shot.

Most side effects are mild to moderate. A small number of people have had severe side effects.

Lauren Hurley Lauriello, Infection Preventionist Nurse
Lauren Hurley Lauriello, Infection Preventionist Nurse

It is Lauren’s considered opinion that you should not take Ibuprofen before being vaccinated. It has to do with the anti-inflammatory properties and it’s potential effect. (Again, consult your health care provider to determine what is best for you).

The idea is not to suffer ... rather, to position your body to develop the best immunization response humanly possible.

Lauren advised me that if you are experiencing pain and fever, to take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and not Ibuprofen. Others Have said that ibuprofen it’s not a problem post vaccine. I believe in Lauren’s advice.

As discussed above, some have experienced more side effects following the second dose when compared to the first dose.

I look at it this way. The first shot serves as the “priming dose.” The mRNA is the blueprint for your cells to produce the “spike protein” required to battle the SARS-coV2 virus.

You’ve seen the scary, “spiky looking ball” 3D rendering of the virus. The “M” in mRNA is the “Messenger.” This incredible medical breakthrough was more than a decade in the making.

You can consider second “shot” of the vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna) to be the “Booster Dose.”

This is supposed to remind your immune system about the “spike protein” by reintroducing it into your body.

Several studies have indicated that 2-4 weeks after receiving your first dose, that you’re protected at a 92.6 percent efficacy.

Two weeks following the second dose, you’re supposedly 95.6 percent covered.

There has been a serious debate whether or not to change Pfizer and Moderna to just one dose. At this time, the two doses are still recommended.

Also, regarding the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines; The second dose is the exact same as the first dose. Some think the second dose is something different. It is not.

The side effects may appear within 24-48 hours, or, as long as 7 days after taking the vaccine.

The side effects typically last between 24 to 48 hours. The side effects signify that your body is building immunity.

If you do not experience side effects, this doesn’t mean that the vaccine is less effective.

Everyone is different. Two of my own healthcare providers had completely different experiences following the second dose.

One had absolutely no side effects. The other had teeth chattering chills that occurred about 12 hours after taking the second dose. His side effects resolved after about one day.

Lauren recommends that you move the injection arm (following receiving your vaccine) to help with soreness at the injection site and potential neck and other soreness that may occur.

You can apply a clean, cool wet cloth on your arm at the injection site to help alleviate arm pain and any potential swelling.

It is advisable to avoid excessive amounts of alcohol consumption before and after receiving your vaccine(s). It doesn’t stunt the immunity process. But, it could lead to symptoms that you can otherwise avoid simply by avoiding heavy drinking prior to and after the vaccine.

It is very important to stay hydrated prior to and following the vaccine(s). Dehydration can exacerbate any side effects that may occur.

I want to thank Lauren for her help with this article and for putting her own life on the line for more than a year during the COVID-19 health pandemic to help others.

It is our hope that you find this information helpful.

Stay strong. Stay safe  Stay healthy.

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