NJ Resident Shares About Getting COVID Between Doses of Vaccine

With more and more people getting their vaccines, we like to ask the community what their experiences have been in an effort to help others understand what the process is like and make an informed decision on what’s best for them. A local resident shared her experience that we all fear — getting COVID-19 in between her COVID-19 vaccine doses. We also asked her more information about the vaccine process, including the scheduling and payment process, whether or not she tested for COVID-19, what the side effects from the vaccine were, and more. 

This is an on-going series, so if you’d like to share your story, please email hello@themontclairgirl.com.

local resident shares covid 19 vaccine experience

This person chose to remain anonymous but shared her experience with us to spread awareness about her COVID-19 experience. She is a local resident and an elementary school teacher in her mid-30s.

First Thoughts on the Vaccine

“I was extremely nervous to get the COVID-19 vaccine. My sister is an emergency room nurse who has worked through COVID-19, and I would hear the horror stories and wanted to protect myself and my family, so I decided to.”

I am so grateful that I was able to get the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. I believe that it helped when I contracted COVID-19. My case thankfully was not that serious. I had mild symptoms, fatigue, headache, and loss of smell and taste. The symptoms did not last long, and I did not pass the virus onto my fiance {who I live with} or anyone else in my family with who I was in close contact. I feel the vaccine played a role in that. I just received a negative COVID-19 test today, exactly 14 days after showing my first symptoms. I would urge everyone to get vaccinated so we can help close this COVID-19 chapter in our lives,” she said.

Read More: Latest Montclair + Bloomfield COVID-19 Updates

How were the medical expenses covered? 

I have full medical benefits, but anytime I went for any COVID-19 testing at any venue, I never had to pay for anything, not even a co-pay

How did the scheduling for both vaccine doses work?

I was able to schedule a vaccine at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, NJ. I was able to schedule because of an underlying condition. The facility was wonderful, it honestly was such an easy and enjoyable experience. I had a fantastic nurse who put me at ease and everyone working at the facility was pleasant and kind.

When/where did you get your vaccine and what type?

I got my first Pfizer vaccine on Thursday, February 4th, 2021. I was scheduled for the second vaccine on February 25th but was unable to get it because I had contracted COVID-19. As an educator, I got my vaccine through Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck. They have a vaccination site at the town’s recreation center.

What was the timeframe from when you got the shot to when you tested positive?

I got my first vaccine on February 4th and tested positive on February 21st. My first symptoms felt like a cold.. coughing at night, congested, and a constant headache. I thought I was having some type of reaction to our new apartment and the heating. My humidifier was broken and I was hoping that was the cause. I had a feeling I had it but everyone around me – family and friends were telling me I was crazy and there was no way it was possible because of my first vaccine shot.

I went on the first day of symptoms to get tested at an urgent care. They advised me not to get a rapid because with virtual symptoms I could produce a false positive. The doctor suggested a PCR, that was a Wednesday afternoon. Friday morning the PCR came back as negative but I started to feel worse. The congestion cleared from my nose and felt to go farther down into my sinuses so I had a feeling I had it. Friday night I tried chocolate ice cream and I couldn’t really taste it. The loss of taste was worse Saturday. Sunday morning I woke up at 5AM and I felt very fatigued and I tried to smell every candle in my house and I couldn’t smell any of them. I made a cup of coffee and sobbed when I attempted to drink it but couldn’t taste it. I couldn’t taste the toothpaste on my toothbrush either. I went to a local hospital where my sister in an emergency room nurse and got a rapid test and it came back positive. I cried some more and was very angry that I had caught the virus. I was also upset so many people told me I was crazy for thinking I had it. Well, I proved them wrong! Ha!

That afternoon I went for a PCR to confirm and the doctor said with my symptoms the rapid was most likely accurate but agreed to the test and that came back Monday as positive.

I finished quarantine on March 3rd and returned to work on March 4th.

How do you think you were exposed?

I work as a competitive cheerleading judge, so I was working with a team and there were a few team members who tested positive the same week I did. With COVID-19, I don’t think you can be 100% sure, but to me, it makes the most sense.

Do you feel like you let your guard down in between shots? Or was it just exposure that couldn’t be helped?

I do not think that I let my guard down at all in between the shots. I have been working in a school with students since September and I am so accustomed to wearing a mask, staying socially distant, and constantly washing and sanitizing my hands.

How does this impact your ability to get the second dose of the vaccine?

I have been told by my doctors that I will not be able to get the second dose of the vaccine for 90 days. But I tested positive for antibodies on 3/13.

What were the side effects you experienced?

I had no side effects with the first vaccine. I didn’t even feel the needle when I was injected. I massaged my arm after the injection, by recommendation of my nurse and I didn’t even experience any arm soreness. I 100% feel the shot helped me. I was considered a mild case by doctors. Testing positive Sunday, my taste and smell started coming back. My fiancé who slept in the bed next to me until the day I tested positive did not contract the virus. He had two PCR tests a week apart.


Written by:

Victoria is MG's Associate Editor and Social Media Coordinator for the Hoboken Historical Museum + Fire Department Museum. She is a born and bred Jersey girl with deep roots in Hoboken and Jersey City. When she’s not touring delicious restaurants and attending events in the Hudson/Essex area, she’s exploring everything the Concrete Jungle has to offer. You can catch her at art exhibitions, local festivities, traveling, diving into a new book, thrifting, or indulging in some form of arts and crafts.


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