Dr. Andrew Myers of Tampa General Hospital received the first round of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine last week.

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – COVID-19 vaccines have begun the long road of distribution across the globe. A doctor at Tampa General Hospital discusses his experience receiving the vaccine and what to consider when it’s your turn to get vaccinated.

Last week, the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine which requires storage at extreme sub-zero temperatures began rolling out across Florida. Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced approximately 361,000 of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, which don’t require the drastically low storage temperatures will be distributed across 170 Florida hospitals. The first rounds of vaccinations have been reserved primarily for healthcare professionals and long-term care facilities. One doctor in the Tampa Bay area that has already received his first dose of the vaccine has described to CW44 News At 10 what to expect as your turn with the vaccine grows near.

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Doctor Andrew Myers with Tampa General Hospital was one of the first people in Tampa Bay to receive the Pfizer vaccine. “It hurt, like any shot does, you know, a little bit of a pinch,” said Dr. Myers, stating it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. He was more than ready to step in line and receive the vaccine and describes the first dose is similar to getting the flu shot. “I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to get the vaccine. It’s been extensively studied in thousands of people.”

Dr. Myers says he received the first dose of the vaccine well, saying, “They had me wait about 15 minutes to make sure I didn’t have any sort of reaction.” Aside from the common side effects at the site of pain and swelling at the injection site, the CDC says people may experience fever, chills, tiredness and headache. The reaction that Dr. Myers refers to, however, is for those who have a history of severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis to any vaccine or to any injectable therapy as described by the CDC in the following CBS News article.

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The doctor says he was able to go home after the first injection, but in about 21 days from his vaccination date, he has a second appointment. “Now I’m just waiting to get the second dose.” Dr. Myers says when it comes to the second dose, you may experience reactions such as fever or more pain in your arm. “When you get the second dose, your body is already primed. It’s already seen the mRNA before, and so it’s going to attack it a little bit faster,” which is why the second dose may cause a fever or more arm pain.

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mRNA vaccines, the CDC says, are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. Not mRNA vaccines. Instead, they teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

Before jumping to conclusions, the CDC states that they cannot give someone COVID-19, mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. The mRNA vaccines do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way, elaborating that the mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept. Once the vaccine is administered, the cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.

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While Dr. Myers recommends most everyone get the vaccine, he provides an exception for a specific group of people. “You shouldn’t get it if you’ve had coronavirus in the last ninety days or if you’re currently under quarantine for coronavirus. Because then, it could muddy the picture for you and everybody else. The only other thing we talked about is if you have a history of anaphylaxis reaction to a vaccine previously.” When your turn to receive the vaccine approaches, it is important to discuss your options with your doctor.

Health officials across the globe and Dr. Myers warn, whether you get the vaccine or not, it’s not time to ease precautions. The CDC states that it takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot. As a final note, Dr. Myers says if you do develop any respiratory or uncommon symptoms after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, you should contact your doctor immediately.

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