This is part of a series that will share real stories of people who have decided to get a COVID-19 vaccine – how did they decide, what was it like and how are they feeling now?
Jamie Pate has worked on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as a children’s hospital emergency room nurse. After her own battle with COVID-19 left her in the intensive care unit (ICU) for several days last year, the decision for this case manager at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee to sign up to receive the vaccine as soon as she could was an easy one.
Here’s what Jamie shared about her decision to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
How I decided to get a vaccine
My husband and I traveled to Miami in February of 2020 before anyone knew that COVID-19 had arrived in the United States. Approximately two weeks after we returned, I started feeling very tired, developed a fever and had difficulty breathing.
We went to the emergency room, and I was diagnosed with the virus. I had already developed pneumonia and sepsis. I ended up spending five days in the COVID-19 ICU.
It wasn’t until the end of last year that I was really feeling back to normal, but even so, I am still dealing with long-term symptoms, like a rapid heartbeat, that my cardiologist believes are related to COVID. We are hopeful that these symptoms will resolve after time on their own.
After dealing with this first-hand, in my opinion, this vaccine is worth gold.
With all that being said, I still was honestly a bit hesitant at first, but I knew I had to trust the science and my own medical knowledge. I know how much research went into the creation of this vaccine.
When I got my vaccine
I work part-time in a hospital setting which placed me in Tennessee’s first phase of eligibility. I also have an autoimmune disorder which would have placed me in this phase if I hadn’t been working in the hospital during this time.
I was able to get my first dose on Jan. 4 and the second dose on Jan. 25 at the hospital where I am a staff nurse.
The process was very smooth and well organized. I received the vaccine and waited the required 15 minutes. After the wait, I was able to leave and return to my normal level of activity.
How I felt shortly after
My arm was sore for the first night after both the first and second dose of the vaccine. I also had very mild body aches for roughly the first 24 hours after the first dose.
How I feel now
I’ve had absolutely no lingering side effects. Personally, the biggest impact this vaccine has had on me is peace of mind and hope, and I feel very fortunate to have received it.
Since getting the vaccine, I have been able to spend more time with my family members, including someone who is undergoing chemotherapy (who has also received the vaccine).
I feel that getting the vaccine will not only save lives, but that it is a crucial step needed to help get us back on track to some sort of normalcy.
Need more advice?
If you have questions or concerns about vaccines based on your health status, speak to a provider who knows your medical history. Your friends and family may have good intentions, but they may not know your body like you and your doctor, so it’s important to speak to a provider who knows you well.
If you do decide to go online to learn more about vaccines, do seek reputable sources like the CDC, FDA or World Health Organization (WHO). You can also visit BCBSTupdates.com to get the latest facts on and support for COVID-19 and vaccines, along with information on how we’re supporting our members and communities through the COVID-19 pandemic.
More COVID-19 vaccine stories from WellTuned
- My COVID-19 Vaccine Story: Ron Harris
- My COVID-19 Vaccine Story: Dr. Bertram Prosser
- Andrea Willis: why I’m getting vaccinated as soon as I can
- COVID-19 vaccines: Q&A with four BlueCross medical directors
- COVID-19 side effects: what to expect + tips for care
- Suzanne Corrington: how effective are the COVID-19 vaccines + what does that mean?
- Chris Andershock: how immunity works + 4 ways to boost your immune system
Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.