Hello everyone! Today, I wanted to share my experience with the Covid-19 vaccine.
I ended up getting Pfizer! Anyway, I’m not sure if anyone really wants to read about my experience from the vaccine as I’ll tell you right now, it’s super boring and uneventful LOL. But I figured I’ve shared so much of my experience with the pandemic, I might as well!
Oh! If you’re new here (newer than May 2020) you might be wondering, what’s BirthMay? Well, every year I blog every day in May because it is my birth month. I just figured it was something fun to do, and it has proven to be really enjoyable for me. This will be the fifth BirthMay on my blog! No matter how many BirthMays you’ve been through with me, thank you for being here this BirthMay and thank you for your support!
Getting an appointment
For some quick background, I was not in any of the priority groups to get the vaccine when it was first available. I’m young and healthy, and at the time I was unemployed, so I wasn’t an essential worker either. I had to wait until mid-April to become eligible to get it.
Originally I was actually going to wait to get it until much later, because it wasn’t anticipated that my age group could get it until May/June anyway. When it was moved up to April, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try to get one as I didn’t want to “take it away” from someone who might need it more. Again, I was unemployed and so I figured that since I mostly stayed home except for an occasional Target run or for ballet once a week, I could wait. But after many TikToks and White House Press Briefings urging people to get vaccinated ASAP, I finally signed up to be notified when appointments were available.
I signed up on my local county’s website about a week or two before I became eligible. But appointments were never made available! I waited the entire first week I was eligible waiting to get notified and I never was. At the time, I was puppy sitting my sister’s dog, so I would regularly run into a neighbor who has a small dog and had a similar walking schedule to my puppy niece. She mentioned she got the vaccine through her work in the medical field and I mentioned I was having trouble getting an appointment. She suggested going straight onto pharmacy store websites to search.
And that worked! I spent quite some time refreshing the page and quickly learned that the moment I saw an appointment I had to grab it, otherwise everyone else on the page would take it. I ended up with an appointment the following week for the Moderna vaccine at a location about an hour away from my house.
The day was meant to get the first dose though, there was snow in the forecast. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that I do NOT drive in snow unless I absolutely have to, especially an hour away. For me, the vaccine was important enough to risk it, but I went online just in case I could find a closer location or earlier time in the day before the snow. I ended up finding one for the same time but only 20 minutes away! I felt so much better! It wasn’t for the Moderna vaccine anymore though, I ended up with one for the Pfizer vaccine.
I still wasn’t thrilled it was during the snow but I figured I’d deal with it when the time came. Also, I will say that I was surprised I could change my appointment. Even just a few days before when I’d originally made the appointment, that hadn’t been an option. The site only gave an option to cancel when I originally made the appointment. But the day before I did see an “edit” option and I was able to search for a different appointment. I am glad that was added in!
If you ask me, this was made so much more difficult than it needed to be. I didn’t get the alert through my county’s website at all until a week after my first vaccine, so it was already way too late! Honestly, there ended up being a vaccination site built in my own town, but I never got that option until after having to go to the next town to get it.
I think that was so dumb that the county didn’t just take everyone’s information and automatically assign them an appointment nearby their home. That would have made so much more sense than leaving everyone to their own devices to get appointments an hour or more away. I’m sure that people in the areas an hour away probably ended up with the appointments near me (in fact, I know that for a fact because I overheard someone complaining about driving so far for it in the location close to me). If someone got the vaccine at work, I think they could have gone in and opted out/cancelled and people could then look for their own changes if they couldn’t make their assigned date/time/location as needed. I think that would greatly help vaccinate people as it was really unclear how to get an appointment otherwise.
Several other people I’ve talked to say the same too! I’ll give the example of my parents. I love them but… they’re so lazy when it comes to this stuff! If it wasn’t for me, they would literally not lift a finger to get an appointment because they claim they “don’t speak English well enough” to go to places an hour away for an appointment and they “don’t understand technology well enough” to sign up online for an appointment either. If they’d been assigned a date/time/location and gotten a notice in the mail or something, I’m sure they wouldn’t have had an issue at all. It’s honestly so disappointing that everything was so chaotic.
Anyway, onto the actual vaccine appointments! For the first dose, I headed out to the pharmacy as planned. I got there a little early but when I arrived I realized it was packed in the waiting area. It was honestly so frustrating! I’d been avoiding crowds and all that but now I was suddenly forced to wait in a crowded waiting area for the vaccine. Then, some guy hogged the check-in window with some issues he was having for over twenty minutes! By the time he moved I was late for my appointment and there was still someone in front of me. I was so stressed because the snow was supposed to start right after my appointment and I had been counting on everything being on time to make it home before it started.
Finally, I was able to check in. Although some woman tried to cut in front of me because she said it was her appointment time and I was only able to get her to back off by explaining that I had been waiting over forty-five minutes for an appointment that was half an hour prior to her appointment. Once I checked in, I was told to take a seat to wait to be called. Well… there were no chairs! They were still backed up so all the seats were taken by people also waiting. So I stood a little to the side and out of the way for another fifteen to twenty minutes while people slowly filed in and out of the room.
Once I was finally called, I quickly got the vaccine and was told to wait fifteen minutes around the store. If I was feeling fine I could leave but if I felt bad I should head back to the pharmacy area to talk to them. I again tried to stand far away from people and went to a far corner of the store, but some random lady kept trying to approach me and ask me questions about some sale the pharmacy was having. I kept telling her I had no idea and she should ask an employee but she didn’t seem to understand for some reason. I went and hid in another aisle for the rest of the waiting time and just job hunted on my phone until it was time to leave. Unfortunately, the snow had already started but it wasn’t sticking yet so I managed to get home right on time after all!
Again, this was all so frustrating at how poorly managed it all was. They were so far behind that everyone was literally stacked on top of each other trying to check-in, waiting to be called, and then waiting around the store for their fifteen minutes of observation. Yikes! It was so crowded in the store and it was just a bad experience overall, but I did get the first dose so that was the silver lining!
As for the symptoms I had after the first dose. I didn’t really have any! All I really had was a slightly sore arm. And even then, it was just sore when I bumped it against something or tried to lift it up too fast. I did also notice it when I went to bed. I’m a side sleeper so I couldn’t sleep on that side all night. Otherwise I didn’t have any other symptoms and felt fine the next day.
The second vaccine appointment went a lot smoother! It was earlier in the day so that was a relief as the pharmacy didn’t have time to get too far behind. It was still kind of backed up but instead of an almost hour long back up it was more like fifteen to twenty minutes. I checked in pretty quickly and I was called back pretty fast too.
I did notice that they had way less staff though when I went the second time. The guy checking everyone in also ended up being the one who administered the vaccine, which wasn’t the case the last time I was there. It was also kind of annoying because he didn’t wear a proper mask, just a clear face shield, when checking in. He did at least put a mask on when he administered the vaccine though. This was a few days before the CDC said fully vaccinated people didn’t have to wear masks anymore so I’m not sure why he was allowed to get away with that.
Anyway, I just had to wait the fifteen minutes around the store after this one too and that was it! Again, it was annoying that they were still delayed this time but it was a much smaller delay at least.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with symptoms. From what I had heard, the second dose had much stronger symptoms but I also hadn’t really had any in the first dose to begin with. For the most part, I had a really easy time with the second dose. My arm was actually less sore than the first dose, but I had some pain in the underarm/lymph node area instead. It wasn’t a really bad pain or anything like that, so I didn’t take anything for it, but it was more like uncomfortable and noticeable pain. Even the next day it was lesser pain but still painful and it wasn’t until the third day that I felt back to normal. Otherwise I had no other symptoms like a fever or headaches or anything like that. I think I was pretty lucky in that regard! Especially because the day I got the second dose was my 30th birthday!
So that’s the experience I had with the Pfizer vaccine. At the time this goes up, I’m about a week after the second dose so I have one more week to go before I’m considered fully vaccinated. I’m so excited to reach that point but I already have such a sense of relief even now. I do truly feel much safer already but I am absolutely going to continue to wear my mask, even after the two weeks are up. I am a big fan of masks and I do intend to wear them for awhile. I think I’ll even wear them during flu seasons in the future, as the regular flu generally knocks me out for a few days (although if I get the flu shot I’ll have less severe symptoms) and if I can avoid it, I totally will!
In short, get vaccinated y’all!
Thanks for reading!
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