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What happened when Floridians got the vaccine

We asked readers about their experience getting the shot.
Richard Herman 82, receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Sherry Phillips at the King's Point clubhouse in Delray Beach on Wednesday.
Richard Herman 82, receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Sherry Phillips at the King's Point clubhouse in Delray Beach on Wednesday. [ GREG LOVETT | AP ]
Published Dec. 31, 2020

Kirk Robertson, a 911 operator in Tallahassee, received his first dose of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine Saturday. Everything was fine for the first 24 hours.

“Then it hit me like the flu — the aches and weakness,” he said. “I was running a temperature and it finally broke [Tuesday].”

Robertson, 42, contacted his doctor. He was told his symptoms were normal and that his body’s reaction showed the antibodies were working.

“It’s better than getting COVID,” he said.

While many around Florida wait for their coronavirus vaccine, thousands of healthcare workers and first responders have already gotten their first doses. Vaccinations are on the way for seniors in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Hernando as early as next week.

The Tampa Bay Times asked readers who already received their shots to describe the experience. Here’s what they said, edited for length and clarity:

“The healthcare worker who give me the vaccine was amazing and I didn’t really feel the shot. I had to wait 15 minutes after to watch for a reaction. I was given Tylenol, which I did take just in case. The next day my arm was sore to the touch, but I was able to work out with no problems. Otherwise, I have felt fine and I am looking forward to getting my second dose.” — Courtney Pinto, Tampa

“I am a physician working primarily on the COVID unit at Tampa General Hospital. We were incredibly fortunate in that TGH was one of the first hospitals in the state and the nation to receive supply of the Pfizer vaccine. They began vaccinating staff mid-December. Given my role, I was in the first priority group along with all hospital workers who have direct patient care including our resident physician trainees.” — Jennifer Caputo-Seidler, Tampa

“I am the administrator of a nursing home in Tampa. I received the Pfizer vaccine on Monday morning. When I was going to bed on Monday evening, I was experiencing some body aches and soreness at the injection site. I woke up yesterday with some chest discomfort. I came into work and had my Director of Nursing take my blood pressure and it was high — I don’t have a cardiac history. I went to urgent care yesterday, had an EKG and that was fine. After a good night’s rest, I feel fine this morning. I look forward to receiving the second dose in a few weeks. Overall however, I’m saddened that the vaccine has become a political football in this country.” — Scott Allen, Tampa

“I had the Pfizer one. Awaiting my second dose. The only thing I had was as soon as I took the Band-Aid off, my arm hurt like a you know what, but then it was fine the next day. No other issues.” — Pauline Pfeffer

“I work for Baycare as an RN and got the Moderna vaccine at St. Joe’s on Dec. 29. After about 5 hours, I had some soreness of about a 1 out of 10 in the vaccinated arm — which I made sure was my non dominant arm. I did not feel the initial shot at all.” — Verna Gigliotti

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Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

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