To vaccine or not to vaccine? That was the question.
This won’t be a political post. I’m not here to convince you either way. I won’t judge you whether you get it or not. I’m just sharing my experience here as part of our coronavirus time capsule.
I was scheduled for 2:30 pm on a Friday. My spot in line was ensured by my work in a public school. By the time my turn rolled around, many co-workers had already had shot #1 and remarked on how organized and efficient it was.
The scene: an old Sears in an abandoned mall. Actually, it’s the mall featured in the show Stranger Things which kind of made me both giggle and pause. It was also the mall where I happened to be shopping when the first tower fell on 9/11. A setting with a history.
I parked and walked up to the well-signed venue. Workers with vests and clipboards awaited. Mask on, I had my two copies of paperwork and ID. Had I been diagnosed recently? Feverish? Quarantined? All these questions are routine now. No. No. No. Then position my face in the outline on the tablet screen for my infrared temp check. New version of another daily routine.
Line after line after windy, mazy line. Socially distanced. No photos allowed. Moving through the queue. It was a Friday and many had come from their respective schools, so it was a parade of school spirit shirts. Others were older, some returning for their second dose.
I made it to a table with a worker and two piles of papers. One said Pfizer, the other Moderna. Which would I be given? Does it matter? Will one be more effective than the other? Side effects worse or better? Most I know had received Pfizer. I answered all the questions as she handed me all my info and my Moderna paper. Off to another line.
Sitting down, asked “why are you here today?” I guess they have to ensure that I know why I’m here. No one is coercing me. Which arm, right or left? Are you allergic to anything? Finally, the needle comes out. Imagine you are on a beach, the nurse said. The more relaxed you are the easier it will be. Practice poor posture, she said. Sigh and ok. Hardly felt a thing then it was done and up again.
Socially distanced chairs in another waiting area. 15 minutes just to be sure you’re ok. I wait, scanning social media. Workers circulate. My time is up, 3:13 pm. Another worker, are you feeling ok? Everyone careful to look you in the eye. And another set of questions at the table. Are you nauseous? Rashy? Itchy? More no. And off I go.
On the way out, a sign that said to go ahead and tweet, insta, facebook, and snap my vaccine. I paused for a pic then just went to the car. A goose was circling, hissing. He had been there on the way in, too. Honestly, that was the scariest part of the day, that stupid goose. Must be a nest nearby, I think. Life does go on.
I’ll return for dose 2 in 28 days. We’ve already gotten the lecture at work…be prepared to feel yucky for a couple of days. That could make for a crappy weekend. But, life will go on and I’ll hopefully have less reason to worry about some of the long term effects of this illness. I hope getting this vaccine will somehow help protect the many in society who can’t.
Thank you, health care workers. Thank you, scientists. A profound and reflective moment.