February 17, 2021
As of last week, I’m among the ranks of the half-protected, a lot luckier than many of us because I didn’t have to scramble for vaccine. My regular medical provider emailed me to ask if I needed it, confirmed I was eligible ten days later, and two weeks after that, they offered me an appointment.
Elated and slightly anxious, I drove through the rain to the vaccination site, a former department store in one of Atlanta’s countless malls. My nerves hit the roof when I walked inside and for the first time in nearly a year found myself in a big indoor space with a crowd of people(!). Everyone wore a mask and the staff kept us distanced, but it still felt strange. My social skills will need a serious reset when this is over.
Fortunately, everything moved smoothly: from consent form to check-in line to injection and waiting time afterward (to be sure there were no serious effects). Though the scientists say both vaccines work equally well, I was glad to get Pfizer because it’s made in my hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan, which hasn’t had much to cheer about since the last recession.
After less than an hour, I was done and had an appointment for my second shot, which some people are finding tough to arrange due to uncertain supplies. The injection spot was a little sore and itchy for a day or two, but I’ve had worse from routine jabs in the past. I’ve heard the side effects of round two are often worse; I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it (and it can’t come soon enough).
For now, life hasn’t changed, and I doubt that it will even after I’m fully immunized. The Atlanta and Georgia case and death numbers are down from the hideous levels of last month but anything resembling normal is still much, much too risky. While we still don’t know how bad the variants are, the latest news about the British one isn’t good. The scariest story I’ve read recently is about a covid long-hauler in what should be the prime of her life, suffering for nearly a year with no end in sight. Take care and be safe.