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How life changed for 10 health experts who got coronavirus vaccines

Megan Reeves, Tampa Bay Times on

Published in Health & Fitness

Chairwoman of the Division of Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

In December, Messina received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. After the second dose, she experienced some side effects, including body aches, a headache and chills, but she said they were short-lived, only lasting about 24 hours.

As many of her friends and family members are just starting to get vaccinated, Messina said her life hasn’t changed much. But she’s looking forward to reuniting with her parents, who live in Connecticut, and gathering in small groups with vaccinated loved ones. Once community vaccination rates increase, Messina’s also looking forward to visiting restaurants and cafes again.

“A lot of people are asking which vaccine to get and my response has always been the one you can get first,” she said. “That was my only criteria.”

Dr. Michael Lauzardo

Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine, University of Florida

 

Lauzardo, 56, got his first dose of coronavirus vaccine early, on Dec. 23, because of his role as a physician. His arm was a bit sore that evening and he felt fatigued, but all was back to normal the next morning, he said. His second shot caused body aches. He woke up in the middle of the night to take ibuprofen and again felt fine the following day.

Lauzardo says he’s still taking precautions for the sake of his patients. But vaccination has given him the mental boost he needed. “The changes have been more psychological than anything,” Lauzardo said.

“Getting the vaccine and giving it to other people, that has probably changed my life more than my day to day. It’s been a huge boost, a huge kind of emotional lift. Like, hey, we are fighting back. This is real … I’m helping fight this virus off.”

In the vaccine clinics where he’s administered shots, patients have been so grateful, appreciative and motivated, Lauzardo said — a very different mood from testing clinics he worked in earlier in the pandemic.

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