7 Nigerians Share Their Experiences Getting Covid-19 Vaccine

March 23, 2021

Citizen is a column that explains how the government’s policies fucks citizens and how we can unfuck ourselves.

Finally, the Covid-19 vaccine is finally here in Nigeria. And between Nigerians who do not trust the government to give the right vaccine, to those racing to get it while it is still “good”, many other Nigerians have been getting vaccinated and we decided to learn what their experience has been like. 

“It’s quite unrealistic – and a bit funny – how there’s so much pressure on the Covid-19 vaccine to possess near-magical abilities and make one immune to Covid forever when that is not what many vaccines do. A vaccine gives your immune system a boost, it introduces a non-dangerous but still quite stimulating version of the organism to your body so your body can produce cells that fight it best.”

Says Ada Anatune, a medical doctor here in Nigeria who has been on the frontline and has received the Covid-19 vaccine.

In addition to the experiences you are about to read, you can still visit the National Primary Health Care Development Agency’s website for more information on how to register for the vaccine.

Dammy, 24

I got my Covid-19 vaccine on Friday afternoon 19th of March at the Ikeja, Primary healthcare center. When I got here I registered with a doctor online, was given a card. I got called, took the injection, was told to register for my next dose.

It wasn’t painful, and I felt fine until midnight when I was down with a fever, chills, headache, loss of taste. On Saturday it got a little better with pain at the injection site. On Sunday, 20 March, I still feel weak but it is all feeling a little better.

Nazom, 21

I have lost family and friends to Covid so I understand how important this vaccine is. My family and I got to our primary health care center around 8:30 in the morning. We were given numbers and were told to wait. 

Luckily we were among the first 15 people so in less than an hour we had received the first shot, were given our cards, and were told what date to return for the second shot. During the day, I just slept, ate, the usual, but by evening, roughly 12 hours after I received the shot, I developed a headache and some parts of my body ached. 

I didn’t give it much thought but then within an hour, I had a mild fever. The general body pain was so bad that I had to plan whenever I was about to stand up. 

I didn’t bother using meds cause I just figured it was vaccine-related. I was able to get some sleep although I kept waking up at random times. By morning the next day, the pains had reduced but I got dizzy every time I stood up from a chair or a bed(basically every time I had to get on my feet.)  By evening, however, it was all good.

Chiebuka, 26

I heard about the vaccine much like everyone else. I was exposed to COVID-19 twice and have been following the vaccine news quite closely on media outlets. When the COVAX dispatch arrived in Nigeria, I signed up to get vaccinated on the NPHCDA website and waited to receive scheduling details. I initially thought that priority would be given to health workers and essential workers, but then I started to hear that anyone could get it. I had an internal battle with myself about whether it was ethical to go ahead and try to get the vaccine. I talked about it with my family and decided to go ahead. (Ethical battle because I’m young, not an essential worker or frontline worker, and with the previous infection probably have short-term immunity for a few more months) I initially went to the Oshodi Primary Health Care Centre at about 12:30. There was a crowd of people there (about half of his crowd were Indian folks). They weren’t using the online registration so they’d assigned numbers to people. When I got there, I was told by a security guard that they had stopped handing out numbers because the server was down and they couldn’t register people. (They has handed out 100 tags and were attending to number 27 at the time) I stayed there till about 1:15 before I decided to go and find another center. I had better luck at the NAF hospital in Ikeja.

When I arrived, a nurse asked if I was a health worker or essential worker. When I said no, she asked me to wait and went to find out if they had enough vaccines for the people already waiting inside. After 15 minutes, she let my sister and me in. From there, it took maybe 10 minutes for an office to call me up and register me. She’s asked my age, house address, if I was pregnant e.t.c. And then I got the shot. Minimal pain. I got a vaccination card as well. They kept a copy. In terms of the aftermath, I was sick – intense headache accompanied later in the day by full-body aches – the whole of Saturday but now I am fully recovered. My next shot is in June. 

Ada, 23

I took the vaccine a couple of days ago. On the day of the jab, we were each led to a room with community health care workers who did the whole thing (please bear in mind that I am talking as a healthcare professional working in a big private hospital, this is not how it works on a general basis as you would normally have to get yours at a Primary Health Care centre). We each got a COVID-19 vaccination green card, got the vaccine, and did an online registration. 

I felt fine the first few hours afterward. There was some mild unusual tiredness that evening but I attributed it to work. When I got home that day I noticed that the injection site was tender and raising that arm hurt a little, so I took paracetamol and hoped for the best. The following morning was when the party really started.

I woke up at about 4 am the next day with a low-grade fever and mild joint pains. I got up from my bed and realised that there was some weakness. I washed my face and went back to sleep with the hope that it would clear soon. This lasted a few more hours and I basically slept through most of the duration of the symptoms. The joint pains went away but the fever and weakness lingered till the evening of that day, and I had to take two more doses of paracetamol while at work. By night time, I was 95% back to normal. I’m back to myself fully as I write this, and it has been 48 hours since I was jabbed.

Chinua, 40

Got my vaccine on the second day Lagos state started vaccinating. We were only about 6 at the health care center. I am a doctor so I was the first to get the shot. It was actually painless and had to look at the cotton wool for blood spot just to be sure I got the shot. An hour after I got home, I had a fever and chills, so I took a nap and when I woke up I was okay. A day after that,  I developed aches at the site where I was given the shot but that resolved 2 days later and it’s all good now.

Tega, 27

So I’m a health care worker, and honestly, I was indifferent about taking the Covid-19 vaccine even though I got to work where the virus mostly resides; the mouth. Sometime last week, the hospital management threw a “celebration of sorts” to welcome the vaccine to the hospital and we were all required to attend. I didn’t go sha because a part of me felt the vaccine wouldn’t be enough to go round so why bother? Also getting to know that it was the Astrazeneca brand that was available didn’t even help in my decision but thanks to a friend who practically dragged me or rather we dragged ourselves to go take the vaccine. 

The vaccination process was in itself like the routine process of taking any vaccine. I got to the venue, wrote down my name and age, waited for my turn, presented my upper arm and prick! It was done then I took my card and left. At this point, I was glad I had taken the vaccine but then I got really worried about any side effects that might arise but then my God did not shame me; your girl felt okay, no fatigue nor the fever another friend of mine experienced when she took hers. It’s been 3 days post-vaccination and I feel fine and looking forward to the self d dose in 4 weeks. 

Sharon, 35

I’m a healthcare worker and it was mandatory for all members of staff (some people refused though as it wasn’t publicised in the media.). I live in a state where the Government and Health Commissioner insisted that there was no Covid. We still believe they didn’t take it, at least not in Nigeria. There was a lot of anxiety among staff as to the quality of the vaccine – we don’t trust FGN and the State Govt. There was also talk on the Oxford vaccine being the least effective and the cheapest (trust Nigeria)  I wasn’t bothered though. My colleagues in the UK and the US had already received it and I have plans to japa and I anticipate that it may be a necessity in the near future, so I was happy to get it.

My Mum was really worried and advised me not to take it. But because I told her I would, she made me promise to take coconut water immediately after the vaccine. She sent me a forwarded WhatsApp message touting the benefits of coconut water. I laughed it off but she made my husband call me as well. My colleagues had a good laugh. But you know what? A lot of them had distressing side effects and I didn’t. So WhatsApp medicine 1: 0 Vaccine.

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