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SSM nurses: Side effects from COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t stop people from getting it

Two nurses said they experienced side effects from the second dose, but they feel safer after the vaccine.
Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 9:06 PM CST
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DANE COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) - Many health care workers in Dane County are getting the second and final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, nearly a month after vaccines first arrived in Wisconsin. Two SSM nurses who recently received the second dose said it is nothing to worry about.

SSM nurses Jessica Schroeder and Megan O’Shea both got the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the first week of January.

“I am thrilled to be vaccinated, I would do it 100 more times if I had to,” O’Shea said.

After their first dose in December, both said they experienced very mild side effects.

“I just had a sore arm and a little rash at the injection site,” described Schroeder, who works in the surgical ICU at St. Mary’s hospital in Madison.

The side effects for both worsened after the second dose but lasted less than a day.

“Some muscle aches, some joint pain and then I started getting a headache,” Schroeder described.

O’Shea said she “had a really bad headache and body aches and a fever.”

SSM officials said more side effects after the second dose is normal, even slightly more severe than Schroeder’s and O’Shea’s.

“Some of my coworkers had vomiting, nausea, that sort of thing,” O’Shea said.

Officials said that is a sign of the body’s immune response, building up a defense against COVID-19 in case of infection.

O’Shea and Schroeder both said the side effects are not too bad, and if people have a chance to get vaccinated, they should take advantage.

“When I had to go out and go grocery shopping and do the things that we have to do, I actually feel a lot safer being out there, knowing that I’m vaccinated,” Schroeder said of how she felt after the second dose.

O’Shea said she wants to do her part to help.

“I’m keeping my loved ones safe, my patients safe, my coworkers safe. It’s just the benefits outweighed the risks,” she explained.

As health care workers, O’Shea and Schroeder were both vaccinated as part of Phase 1A. The vaccine is expanding to more groups—police officers and firefighters will be eligible beginning January 18—but the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said it is not ready to move completely into the next phase.

“We can’t fully open Phase 1B right now because we do not have enough vaccine. Phase 1B, as currently being debated by the SDMAC, is almost double what Phase 1A is,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk.

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