Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine as a Teen: Preparations, Pain, & Side Effects

A first-hand experience of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.


Isi Szuhaj, Contributor

As I am a teen working in the food industry during these chaotic and stressful times, I was eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine earlier than other people my age. Although it was difficult to find available appointments without having to drive 45 or more minutes, I would constantly reload websites, as they added new appointments hourly. One tip I have for anyone trying to book an appointment is to be persistent. Make sure to regularly check different locations for new availability and sign up for email updates to be alerted when new appointments are posted.

Before going to my appointment to receive my first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19, I had to fill out extensive paperwork and consent forms because I am still a minor. Do not forget to bring these forms to your appointment or you will not be able to receive the vaccine. Also, note that if you are a minor, some locations will require you to bring your legal guardian to your appointment.

I was required to arrive 30 minutes before my appointment and they administrated the shot shortly after. They then require you to wait 15 minutes after the vaccine is administered to ensure that you are okay to leave. Personally, I am typically very sensitive to medications and vaccines, so I was initially pretty drowsy, tired, and slightly dizzy. When I got home, however, I took a nap and felt much better. Over the next few days, the only symptoms I experienced were a headache and a slight aching feeling like you experience when you have a cold.

The second dose itself hurt slightly more than the first but was overall not too bad. I was expecting to be totally knocked out, but shockingly I didn’t fall prey to the vaccine. I immediately began drinking lots of Gatorade and electrolytes to ensure that I would not feel like a walking corpse. I made sure to rest after getting the shot and binged loads of Netflix and Hulu.

The day after my second dose, I was prepared to be incredibly tired and sick, but other than being slightly drowsy I was completely fine and even attended school in person.

I would like to acknowledge that everyone’s bodies react differently to the vaccine, but as we strive to reach a majority immunity throughout America, I highly recommend receiving a vaccine if you have the privilege to.