andrew burke





The Moderna XBB.1.5.0 Shot Kicked My Ass - But That's Okay

Posted on: 2023-10-20

Covid Vaccination history of mixed Moderna and Pfizer shots between May 2021 and October 2023

On Wednesday I got my fifth Covid shot, this time the updated one that covers newer variants. There seems to be a resurgence in Covid infections these days, though with our health authorities having given up on informing the public, there's little way to tell statistically, like there had been back in 2020-2022. That said, I've seen an uptick anecdotally: a number of otherwise healthy people I know have been getting bad cases, knocking them down for several weeks and keeping them weak and feeble for quite some time afterwards. The new shots became generally available just in time and I managed to get an early appointment at a pharmacy just up the street.

I'd remembered from previous shots that I get some flu-like symptoms about half a day after the shot (especially, for some reason, after Moderna shots) so I expected I'd feel a little rough in the morning. What I didn't expect is that it would make me feel lousy for most of the following Thursday!

Now perhaps this is because I've had a slight sniffle recently (I tested several times already and was sure it wasn't covid), and things probably weren't improved by my going to Third Wednesday and having a few beers the night before - but whatever the reason, I was definitely down for the count for the day. I cancelled everything and spent the day in bed.

I've since seen reports from other people over social media that this shot has given them stronger side-effects than previous ones, so maybe there's something new in the formulation?

I'm feeling back to normal this Friday morning, but this day of convalescence turned out fine, actually. I'd been needing some downtime recently, but there's been a slow drip of deadlines and appointments that have kept me from getting something really solid and recuperative. Feeling pretty lousy but knowing it was just a side effect from the vaccine that would only last a day, was good justification for a break.

I napped a lot, got plenty of (healthy) liquids, and generally took it easy. I also managed to finally make a bit more progress in what's become my convalescent pastime: Assassin's Creed Valhalla. As another sign of being too busy, I started playing this game in November 2021 and have only managed to progress in it in fits and starts. I think I'm still only about a third of the way through. The last time I was able to devote serious time for it was, appropriately enough, when I was recovering from actually getting COVID back in January of 2023. It was a mild case, thankfully, but it still kept me bedridden for two days and recovering for about a week afterwards. At least I was able to get some gaming time in! It's taking me longer to play through these games than it's taking Ubisoft to make them - the next game in the series is already out now.

Longship sailing down a river in Assassin's Creed Valhalla

A ruined castle on a pretty autumn hillside in Assassin's Creed Valhalla

I find the Assassin's Creed games quite relaxing: you can just wander over beautiful landscapes, do low-key quests and missions, and feel a bit like a tourist exploring a historically rich environment. Assassin's Creed Odyssey got me through the lockdown era of 2020/2021, and it helped my psyche a lot while confined to my house for weeks on end to be able to wander around ancient Athens and Corinth, at least virtually. I remember being a bit shocked when I saw a guy in Piraeus coughing into his hand rather than his sleeve - I of course had to go stab him, in the interests of public safety!

Screenshot from Assassin's Creed Odyssey with an NPC coughing in the street, being looked at suspiciously by Kassandra

I'm hoping to find some more time to make more progress in this game eventually, but hopefully not due to illness. I've got my flu shot scheduled for early November. I hope I don't have big side effects - but if I do, I know what I'll be doing!

Anyhow, with the tough new COVID strain going around, I strongly recommend you get your updated shot. Just be sure to clear the next day for recovery. It's certainly better than actually getting the disease. And maybe you can catch up on some games too.

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