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Fairfax, VA (703) 782-3003 | FAX: (703) 539-8355

Jae Kim, MD

My COVID-19 Vaccine Experience

Taking a step away from the world of aesthetic medicine and plastic surgery, I would like to share my experience receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. I feel it is important to share with you because the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted all of our lives, and I hope that my story gives some insight and encouragement. I cannot wait for the day we conquer this debilitating disease, and doing my part includes keeping my office safe and getting vaccinated.

Since reopening my Fairfax office with enhanced safety protocols in mid-May 2020, we have had no staff or patients test positive for COVID-19 after visiting the office. I take the utmost pride in ensuring a safe environment for my patients, the vast majority of whom come for elective procedures. I sincerely thank my patients who have been very understanding of our safety protocols during this pandemic.

I received my first Pfizer vaccine on the evening of December 22nd. The process was very smooth, and the vaccine clinic setup was very clean and safe. My left deltoid was sore for the rest of that day, much like after I received my flu vaccine. Otherwise, I experienced no other symptoms like fever, chills, muscle aches, etc.

Leading up to the day of my second vaccination, I had an upset stomach but no nausea or vomiting, and no other symptoms commonly seen with COVID-19. I purposely left my schedule for that day and the next pretty vacant, in case I felt less than optimal to see and take care of my patients. I received my second vaccination on the morning of January 11th, almost three weeks after my first dose. For some reason, I could feel a more tangible sense of optimism in the vaccine clinic and even in the long lines outside the building. Again, the process was very smooth from start to finish. Thank you to the wonderful NICU nurse who gave me the second shot!

The injection site was a bit more sore this time. I felt fatigued and generally achy about 6 hours later. When I got home, I took a warmer longer shower than usual, ate some dinner, and closed my eyes. I woke up a little while later to take my temperature, which was 99.5. Most of the evening, I felt warm, weak, and foggy. I did not need Tylenol or other analgesics; instead, I dozed in and out for most of the evening and drank some room temperature Gatorade to stay hydrated. Around midnight, my temperature was back down to 98.1, and I felt more alert. My appetite started to come back the following day, and the muscle aches were much improved.

The severity and duration of symptoms, especially after the second dose, can vary and is usually worse than after the first dose. It would definitely be wise to keep your schedule open for a day or two after to rest and recuperate. Just like with other vaccinations, the vaccine itself does not give you the disease, but it can cause symptoms that may mimic the disease.

Even though my staff and I have been vaccinated, the safety protocols in our office will remain in place for your safety until the pandemic is over. Your safety comes before your beauty, and I mean that wholeheartedly. We appreciate your trusting us with your facial beauty despite these trying times. Let’s get through this pandemic safely together!