It has been hard to acquire an appointment to get the Covid-19 vaccine for so many of us. Going on the computer and logging in day after day to different sites had been fruitless and frustrating. But don’t give up. Keep logging on or calling. It will happen. Thanks to a savvy relative who was able to get in, miraculously, I had a date and time, and it was the following week! I was so excited!
On that day, I ventured down to the Atlantic City Convention Center with a friend who had gone through the same the day before. I felt better knowing she could tell me where to go, where to park, etc. I was so happy that I was practically skipping to the entrance, feeling I was a part of making my mark in history and being safe from this horrible virus. Watching the sick in the hospital day on TV day in and day out along with the overworked healthcare workers was daunting. Seeing Dr. Fauci on TV almost daily and heartened by the many people getting their doses, I was thankful that I was now going to be a part of crushing Covid-19 and helping the cause of herd immunity. I was thankful I would hopefully be safe. I know many of you are waiting and wondering what this experience will be like, so I just wanted to tell you about mine and give you a head’s up.
First, let me say it was a great experience! I went to a mega-site at the Atlantic City Convention Center which was so well-managed and organized by the military and police. It was easy to get to and to find the entrance, and there was plenty of free parking on the first ramp under the facility. I walked a short distance to the entrance, and a young man in military gear greeted me at the closed-door entrance. Do you have an appointment? Yes! What time? 4:45. He opened the door for me. It was almost like going into the entrance of a line at Disney World! The next gentlemen took my temperature and asked some questions about my health which is rudimentary wherever you go these days. Then I went to the third station where a gentleman checked my registration information on his computer. He gave me a card with a number on it and told me to take the escalator to the second floor, and that is where the line began – with people 6 ft. apart – outside of the ballroom. Once inside, the line serpentined through roped areas like you were waiting to get on a ride. The area where the vaccines were given was screened off for privacy, along with another area you went to wait the mandatory 15-30 minutes after the vaccine.
I waited in line for not more than 20 minutes. It moved along nicely. Once at the entrance to the screened-off area another officer took my card and checked on the computer. There were many tables set up to question people more in depth and then moving on to vaccinate. There were tons of military directing where you should go, so it was exceptionally smooth. I was directed to a table of another person who asked a few more intrinsic questions some of which were: if you ever had a severe allergic reaction to certain drugs like polysorbate or injections, to any other vaccine or whether you had cancer, were HIV positive or had any allergic reaction that required use of an EpiPen among other questions. I removed my sweater to my short sleeve tee shirt thinking this was it, but they moved me along to another table with a nurse and the vaccine. I walked to the table one arm out with my sweater dragging on the floor and made a few jokes to the people directing me saying I was a little too anxious.
The nurse’s name was Fran, that of an old friend of mine. I knew it would be OK. She was friendly, asked again a few more questions about reactions to different drugs and then it was time. I turned my head away saying I was not going to look, and no sooner that the words were out of my mouth, it was over, and I never felt a thing. I was amazed after watching all those news reports and commercials showing needles jabbed into arms. I thanked her for being so painless and she was pleased. Thanks, Fran. I was given a card with the kind of vaccine I was given – Pfizer- and the date. I was directed to the post-waiting area where more military and EMTs stood by with watchful eyes. At the end of 15 minutes, they came around person by person with their I-pads to reserve your second appointment date and time. You were given three days to choose from and then different times. They were very accommodating. They told you to take a picture with your phone camera. You will also receive a confirming e-mail. I realized it was all basically paperless. Then they told me that I could go.
That was that!
I’m pretty sure I jumped up and clicked my heels as I left!
My arm felt sore that night, and I had a bout with chills for a short period of time. They tell you to take only Tylenol, which I did. I got warm under the covers when I went to bed. The next day I had soreness in that arm, which only lasted one day.
It was a good experience, I felt safe, nothing bad happened, and it was so smooth from start to finish. So, please, do not be afraid to get the vaccine. Go for it. It could save your life. It could free you to do so much more and worry so much less. Of course, still wear a mask, wash your hands, and take the precautions you know you must do. But also know that once that second dose is administered you are going to feel so much more open to live your life. I hope this was helpful and encouraging. I’ll try to be back with my experience on Dose 2.