Jack Kaufman recently rolled up his sleeve to take the COVID-19 vaccine. He’ll follow up that first dose on Jan. 5 with a second on Feb. 2.
His reaction to the Moderna vaccine — one of two approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — has been mild. His arm, where the injection was made, was sore for a few days. Other than that, he hasn’t had any other side effects, which can include fever and flu-like symptoms.
“The only reason I was able to get this early is that I’m also a firefighter. I looked at it as if I’m willing to run into a burning building to help my fellow man, I should be willing to do this as well, even if there is a little risk involved,” said Kaufman, who is Vice President of Timi’s Tours in Moweaqua, Illinois.
His mom and the company’s founder, Timi Kaufman, is planning to get the vaccine when she is eligible, which should be in the next round. The vaccine is seen as the fastest way to build herd immunity, which will be key to people feeling more comfortable about traveling and being in large groups again.
“We’ve been trying to find out when we can get it for our drivers and have it available, so we can fast-track it for our people,” Kaufman said.
COVID-19 vaccine reaction
While many drivers are eager to get the vaccine, some are apprehensive. Kaufman thinks it helps that he is one of the first to get the vaccine, so others can see how he responds to it.
“I’ve had a lot of friends say, ‘I’ve been nervous,’ and they’re asking me, ‘How do you feel?’ I say I feel fine, and it makes them feel better about it,” he said.
One of the biggest concerns is an allergic reaction. When Kaufman received the vaccine, he was asked a series of screening questions before he was given the dose. Then he had to wait about 20 minutes after the shot so he could be monitored before he could leave.
“I was sitting there with a pharmacist, who had brought doses down from the pharmacy and then got his vaccine at the same time I did,” Kaufman said. “He said, ‘Oh, no, it’s safe. I have no concerns about any of my family members getting it.’”
Trusting the science
While the vaccine was developed quickly, Kaufman says he feels good about the science behind it.
“I understand when people hear, ‘Oh, they made a new vaccine and it’s just got emergency approval,’” said Kaufman. “That does sound scary. But then you see they’re really building off of decades of research. You have everybody in the scientific community that can basically be focused on this one issue. I’m going to trust that they know what they’re doing.”
He was asked to download an app on his phone from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention He has received daily texts with prompts that help him track his symptoms. That data is gathered by the CDC.
“It’s just been very very minimal, nothing that I wouldn’t have had with a regular flu shot or another vaccine,” he said.