OHIO — Late December is when Nurse Practitioner Michelle Diederick got her first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

“The only thing that I experienced from the first shot was a sore arm,” said Diederich.

A few hours after her second shot, she felt sluggish and then by bedtime, she felt sick.


What You Need To Know

  • Some people may experience flu-like symptoms after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly after the second shot

  • Some people have noted arm soreness, headaches, low-grade fever and chills

  • Doctors said these symptoms mean your body is producing a strong immune response

  • The symptoms normally last less than a day

“I went to bed at 9:00 that night, I was like, Oh gosh, I really don't feel good. Like I was, like my bones ached. I was freezing cold. I had an upset stomach. I don't think I really ever felt like I was feverish, but I was just cold. So, I had stuff like blankets on just about like my body ached. And I was supposed to work the next day. So I was like, well, let me see how I feel. So, I woke up in the morning, and I honestly felt terrible. I felt like ,for lack of a better term, I got ran over by a truck,” said Diederich.

Taking a day off work and alternating Advil and Tylenol, she was back to normal within 24 hours.  

Dr. Joseph Gastaldo from OhioHealth wants people to be prepared. Despite feeling rundown, he said these symptoms can be a good thing.

“It's part of your immune system, recognizing the spike protein that you get in the vaccine. We call that immunogenicity. And when people have those side effects of a headache, muscle pain, a low-grade temperature elevation — that's your body's way of saying, you know what, I'm recognizing this. I'm making a spike protein, and we're getting your immune system already to go to recognize this virus in the event that you come across it.”

Some may ask why don’t other vaccines produce a response like this.

“This is a messenger RNA vaccine. We've not had these vaccines before. And the messenger RNA vaccine really does induce a very good immune response. These are really newer generations of vaccines moving forward. We are likely going to have more of them, but they really do induce a very robust or other or otherwise strong immune response,” said Gastaldo.

Gastaldo said some will experience symptoms, and some won't. Just like how some people respond to COVID-19 better than others, it all depends on your body's immune system.

Tearing up, Diedrich said symptoms or not, she’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

“I wouldn't change my decision. So, I guess personally for me, it was more about, you know, just getting through this. I will do anything to save my family from, you know," She paused, choking up. "Sorry, it's been really hard. Sorry. So, if I could spare my family from watching what we have to deal with at work, I would do it 10 times over,” said Diederich.