The Journey to a COVID Vaccination

Now that my son, Morgan, is a 25 year old man he is making the informed decisions about all aspects of life, including choosing allergists, physicians and whether to receive a COVID vaccine.

I feel secure in the knowledge that he is fully capable of making these decisions, and it’s really wonderful that he and I can still talk through them meaning he still values my input, at least a little!

Morgan’s history with vaccinations is problematic. He received an MMR vaccine at 15 months old, in 1997. Because he had reacted to touching peanuts previously, and had never eaten eggs, we remained in the waiting room for 20 minutes. Nothing appeared there, however he later reacted by swelling to the point his eyes shut, and his entire body swelled into what I called an alien for 3 days. It was frightening. During the doctor visit, our pediatrician referred us to an allergist while saying, “Morgan is having more allergic reactions than I know how to treat!”

Several years later, it was time to get a Chicken Pox vaccine which we had delayed. With his eczema, our allergist suggested that the vaccine would be preferable to him having what would likely be a more serious case of chicken pox. We went to her office to have the vaccine administered gradually in increasing dosage amounts, and he appeared to do fine. However, 6 hours later he began to vomit every 15 minutes.

He became severely dehydrated, and we took him to the emergency room. They had to re-hydrate him through an I.V., and he remained in the ER overnight. For the next two days, he was horribly ill. Our allergist is convinced this was a reaction to the shot. He never exhibited hives, yet we learned that allergic reactions can take on many different symptoms.

Fast forward to heading off to college. The Meningococcal vaccine was required for those students living in the dorm. Both our pediatrician and our allergist said let’s wait on this vaccine, and our allergist provided a medical exemption. If the illness had shown up on campus, we would then get Morgan vaccinated. Thankfully, that never occurred.

For those of you who read this blog frequently, you will remember that Morgan had COVID-19 which I wrote about here. Since no one yet knows how long the immunity lasts, and because he would like to once again travel, Morgan began to look into getting the COVID vaccine.

He did his own research to find out that today’s Chicken Pox vaccine appears to use some of the same preservatives as the one used in the Pfizer COVID vaccine. He was also aware that a few individuals in Britain who had diagnosed food allergies were experiencing anaphylaxis to the Pfizer vaccine, generating a warning from the British medicine regulator stating anyone with a history of anaphylaxis to foods or medications to not receive that vaccination. However, the United States Center for Disease Control states that the “CDC recommends that people get vaccinated even if they have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine looked like a better alternative, and it was only one shot. Morgan discussed this with his new allergist, who agreed that this was the best choice for him. She also liked this shot because he had had a case of COVID. She suggested that he obtain the vaccine in a hospital environment, and to remain there for at least 30 minutes after the vaccination.

This past week, Morgan received the vaccination! He was prepared to have some flu like symptoms, especially since his boyfriend, Quinn, had received the J&J shot and experienced some symptoms for about 24 hours. By the evening of the shot, Morgan began to feel body aches, and had a rough night sleeping. He felt a little nausea, but by 48 hours after the shot he was feeling back to normal.

Hooray for a positive outcome! He’s especially looking forward to traveling, and is already preparing for his first trip now.