MILWAUKEE— Healthcare professionals at Children's Wisconsin are joining a growing number of frontline workers across the country, who are taking to social media to document their COVID-19 vaccine side effects.
Dr. Jorge Ramallo, a primary care physician, is one of those sharing his journey in hopes of easing the concern over the vaccination process.
"The only side effect that I truly experienced was a little bit of a sore arm... So, it was not bad at all for me," Ramallo says.
Yet, Ramallo admits that some of his colleagues have had mixed responses to their second doses.
"I had a couple of people that got quite sick for maybe two days... They felt fatigued," he explains. "They had a headache maybe, and just didn't feel well for a couple of days. But when I asked every single one of them, you know, 'Oh, was it worth it?' the answer is universal yes."
It may come as a surprise to some, but experiencing side effects from a vaccine can actually be a good thing.
"It means that the vaccine is working. So if you think about it that way, it makes you feel a little bit better, I think," Ramallo says. "It's also, like, just proof that something is happening. That's what I [want patients] to think about."
Ramallo clarifies that this doesn't mean you'll contract coronavirus should you get the vaccine. Actually, he says the vaccine cannot give you the illness at all.
"Your body's just mounting an immune response like it would if you were actually sick," he says.
And while Ramallo recognizes that people have good reason to know about the short-term vaccine experience, he says there's more to consider.
"We're putting a lot of emphasis on these side effects from the vaccines— that are pretty immediate— but we're forgetting about the long-term side effects and short-term side effects of having COVID," he says. "Based on what we've seen so far... having one or two days of feeling unwell versus having COVID, is a no-brainer for us."
Perhaps it's even more of an obvious choice for Ramallo. He's experienced the harsh realities of the pandemic professionally. Doctors around the world are heartbroken as patients take their last breaths. Not to mention, many are burnt out and fatigued. They constantly put themselves in harm's way in an effort to end the pandemic.
But, for Ramallo, this is personal, too.
He lost his grandmother to coronavirus.
"We have something; we have a new tool that we can use to prevent more of this happening," he says. "It's a struggle happening over and over again with Latinxs, [who] already have a lot fewer resources. It's been difficult to handle... To me it's a no-brainer, and I would recommend it to any of my patients who have an opportunity to get it."