MONIQUE BATSON — COVID vaccination booster shot side effects were less than expected

Published 12:04 am Friday, January 27, 2023

In my 41 years, I can’t recall ever being as physically ill as I was in January 2021 when I contracted COVID-19.

Variants were yet to form, and vaccines weren’t readily available to the public. But after two weeks of being predominantly bedbound, I had little hesitation towards getting vaccinated. I was told I had to wait 60 days from the time I tested positive.

I was at the Port Arthur Health Department’s vaccination clinic on Day 61.

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And while it was still nothing compared to having COVID, I did not respond well to the first Moderna shot. The following day was spent battling muscle aches and a relentless headache.

The following month I received my second shot, which I had been told was more likely to cause side effects than the first. Within four hours I had a fever and a skin rash. I spent the weekend in bed with what felt like a mild version of the flu.

So when the booster shot first became available, I was hesitant. While my reaction to the initial series of shots was nothing compared to coronavirus, I was in no hurry to spend another weekend ill and in bed.

And then, in 2022, I contracted COVID again. But this time was a bit different.

While the first time I was on seven different medications, the second I didn’t take so much as a Tylenol. While I did not feel great, I never really felt bad. And after a short quarantine period, I was able to return to work with no issues.

Not long after, I learned of the Bivalent booster shot that had a component of the omicron variant, which I had contracted. And following the holidays, the number of positive cases began to rise.

So last Friday, I stopped dragging my feet and instead took them to the vaccination center for my third vaccine. I braced for another escalation in side effects. I spent a week mentally preparing myself for COVID-light.

As the two shots prior, my arm began to ache not long after I left. Also, like the previous two shots, it’s still a bit sore nearly one week later.

About three hours after receiving the vaccine, my head became — for lack of a better description — fuzzy. While it never ached, I felt foggy and slightly dizzy for the remainder of the day. I was lethargic and spent the evening laying on the couch either watching television or reading.

And that was it.

If you are opposed to receiving the COVID vaccine, I am in no way trying to change your mind.

Instead I am sharing my experience in the event someone is hesitant to get the booster shot due to side effects from the initial series.

Occasionally people are quick to point out that I still contracted COVID despite being vaccinated, as if they’re the first person to make that point or haven’t read the countless articles saying the vaccine does not prevent one from testing positive.

And while my experience is unique to me, I’d like to think it significantly lessened the effects of the virus.

On Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made a recommendation for healthy adults to receive an annual dose of the Bivalent shot, much like a flu vaccine.

The Port Arthur Health Department’s vaccination center, located at 3501 Cultural Center Drive, is open Monday through Friday and has vaccines available for those 6 months and older.

According to information from Texas Health and Human Services, 51.34 percent of Jefferson County residents are full vaccinated.

Monique Batson is Port Arthur Newsmedia editor. She can be reached at