On Tuesday afternoon, I drove out to the MSU Pavilion in East Lansing to get my first dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine.
I’d registered with several different places. Hospitals, drug stores, grocery stores … but the county health department was the first place where I could go ahead and schedule an appointment.
I’d expected to be in the group for folks under 65 with preexisting conditions, thanks to the diabetes. Michigan hasn’t quite gotten to them yet. But they did open things up for caretakers of children with special needs.
I was torn about this. Technically, there’s no question that I’d qualify. But I second guessed whether I deserved to get in line yet. And I’m still confused why the caretakers for the kids get their shots, but not the kids — even the kids over 16.
But after talking to someone at the health department and reading the advice from professionals (if you qualify, go ahead and get the vaccine), I went ahead and signed up.
I know every state is rolling things out differently, and even within the same state, you may have a very different experience from one place to the next. But I was really impressed with how smoothly everything went.
I got there about ten minutes early, because it’s me. A man in a vest separated the cars into two lines, depending on whether you were there for your first or second shot. As we waited in line, other people checked our IDs and gave us paperwork to fill out.
In less than ten minutes, I was pulling into the pavilion. They had maybe ten lanes set up for us to pull into.
Another person came by, took my paperwork, and wrote a 1 on my windshield with a grease pencil (for First Shot). a few minutes later, I was getting my shot, all without ever leaving the car.
It stung a little more than my flu shot, but much less than the blood draw from a few weeks back. And it only hurt for a half second. Then I got a tiny band aid on my dragon tattoo, and was told to chill for 15 minutes so they could make sure I didn’t have a reaction.
I played a little Pokémon Go. They came by several times to check on me. They also gave me my card and scheduled me for my second shot at the end of the month.
And then our row was starting up our cars and driving away. The whole thing, from arrival to leaving, took well under an hour.
My shoulder was a bit sore the next day. It felt like I had a bruise. Not bad, but definitely noticeable. Today, it’s pretty much back to normal.
I’m told the second shot can hit you harder. I’ll plan on taking it easy after that one. But so far, this has been very mild.
I know a lot of people are justifiably frustrated at the inconsistent rollout of the vaccine. Groups who’ve already been vaccinated in one state are still on the waiting list in another. This is absolutely not meant to be a gloating “I got mine!” post. But I’ve had people ask questions about the experience, so I figured it might help to share exactly what the process was like for me.
I’m still going to be careful. I’m still going to wear masks and avoid social gatherings.
And I’m still incredibly impatient for the day when all of my friends and loved ones are protected from this thing.