My experiences with the first 

COVID-19 vaccination shot

 

The Ramones famously sang about wanting to get sedated, but if any of them were alive to today, they might have changed their opening line of “I Wanna Be Sedated” to “20, 20, 20, 4 hours to go, until I get vaccinated!”

That is how I felt on Thursday night, knowing that I finally got a Friday at the vaccine clinic to get round one Moderna’s two-part COVID-19 vaccination. Sure there were butterflies in my stomach about the vaccine, but I have to say the experience at the Ascension St. Joseph Hospital getting the vaccine couldn’t have been better.

As a diabetic I am not stranger to hypodermic needles and give myself many injections, so I didn’t think that getting the vaccine would change anything in me, other than give me the antibodies to protect myself from COVID-19, but with the push of the plunger on my nurse’s hypodermic need a chapter in my life, and the lives of other people at the clinic, got a little brighter.

In the 24 hours that the vaccine was inside of me not much changed, except the confidence that I would, as someone with a weakened immune system, some protection to the ravages of what COVID-19 can do to a person. And although the pandemic is far from over, the fact that I was able to get a vaccination with relative ease after what our county has gone through with this disease since early 2020, was some true “light at the end of the tunnel” stuff to reflect on.

Thankfully the hospital is now one of a lot of different vaccine choices that one can choose from around here. Rite Aid Pharmacy is offering the shots, various doctor’s offices, including Alcona Health Center, have the injects for patients, and they are being administrated at the Eagle Point Plaza in Hale by District Health Department No. 2.

From all accounts of the various vaccination clinics, things go very smoothly, but only having gotten my first shot, and at the hospital, I can only speak about that experience.

I got the appointment simply by calling my family doctor in Oscoda to inquire about the availability of vaccines and the receptionist set me up for a Friday appointment to go to the hospital in East Tawas for the clinic. 

I was under the impression that you had to be an Ascension patient (like have your primary care provider be a doctor in that group) but was later told by one of the nurses that they will take anyone, pretty much, who would like to get the shot. The shots are covered under the Cares Act, btw, and you do not need medical insurance.

My appointment was a 3 p.m., and even though I got to the hospital about half hour early, they still took me in and led me to the cafeteria area of the building, where there is a large conference room, dotted with nurses stations and chairs spread out.

A volunteer gave me a clipboard, then copied my insurance information and driver’s license info down, and when I was done I was handed my vaccination card and an egg timer. I was sent to a nurse, who wiped my left shoulder down with some antiseptic, and then gave me the shot. As far as pain goes, the shot itself did not hurt me.

Another volunteer led me to a seat, then handed me my egg timer with a time of 15 minutes set on it, which is the amount of time they like you to stay to make sure you have no initial adverse reactions to the shot, such as going into anaphylaxis. Trust me, as someone who is deathly allergic to several antibiotics, and has gone into that state, it was a comfort knowing I was being monitored in a hospital with a squadron of nurses and doctors.  

The nurses and staff couldn’t have been more friendly answering my questions, and there were more than a few, as people ferried in and out of the hospital to get their shots. One of the staffers told me that they are running the clinic around four times a week at the hospital and give out around 200 shots each time, which is a lot, but the process was streamlined. You didn’t wait in line, and was almost like getting an errand done; grabbing groceries, filling up the car, getting a COVID-19 shot, and taking the kids to soccer practice.

At the end of the 15 minutes my timer went off, and I was given a “I got my COVID-19 vaccine” sticker and my vaccination card, which I was asked to bring for the next dose, which will be in May.

After the shot I felt fine, but full discloser, the following day from about noon until 5 p.m. I was running a slight fever, had achy muscles, and felt kind of crappy, but it was nothing that some Tylenol, cold water, and a four-hour nap couldn’t combat. By Saturday night I felt fit as a fiddle and was counting the days until I could get my second dose of vaccine.

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