I got my first dose of COVID-19 vaccine last Friday. It’s been a long time coming, especially when we factor in the last year of fact-checking the many internet rumors about COVID-19 and the vaccines that are now available. Over the past year, I’ve already lost count of the “corona scams” we’ve had to discuss and debunk, as well as the sometimes conflicting reports on when we could expect the vaccines to become available.
Today, we’re doing something a little different. Today, I’m just going to share with you the start of my own COVID-19 vaccine experience.
First, let’s review the facts and the science.
If you’ve come here in search of just the facts on the COVID-19 vaccines, you’re in luck. We already have plenty of stories up that include real medical professionals answering questions about the vaccines, in-depth examinations of the mRNA-based Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, a closer look at the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen, or J&J) vaccine that’s suddenly in short supply thanks to J&J putting a shady subcontractor in charge of manufacturing, and multiple debunkings of anti-vaxxers’ efforts to go viral with their disinformation.
Today’s story is different. Despite the factual and scientific evidence proving the safety and efficacy of these vaccines, “vaccine hesitancy” is not just a thing, but it’s a major threat to America’s ability to implement any kind of “return to normalcy” any time soon. As long as we have a critical mass of unvaccinated adults who try to “go back to normal” regardless of their lack of vaccine protection, we’ll continue to face heightened risk of continuing COVID-19 infection surges.
So in the pursuit of full transparency, and in an effort to explain the vaccination process in a different way, I’m just going to share my own experience with you here.
So how did this all begin?
It was actually quite simple. After Governor Steve Sisolak (D) announced that all Nevadans aged 16 and higher would become eligible for vaccination on April 5, I marked my calendar. When state health officials confirmed that appointments would open up to newly eligible Nevadans during Easter weekend, I checked for updates. Then on Easter Sunday, I got something far sweeter than even an Easter basket full of my favorite candies (and for that matter, something that’s actually healthful!).
In case you’re wondering, I had zero interest in “vaccine shopping”. In fact I started looking for appointment openings at several pharmacies, where I figured they’d have a better chance of administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. While I saw openings at Walgreens, none of the Walgreens pharmacies with appointment openings were near my neighborhood. I then tried CVS, and they hadn’t yet changed their eligibility bar. I then tried Albertsons/Vons, and they were already all booked up.
I then went ahead and tried the Southern Nevada Health District’s (SNHD) website. Though all the clinics with openings were a little more of a drive away, I nonetheless found a site that wasn’t too far away, and this site had openings on Friday the 9th. I went ahead and booked my appointment, and the system sent me multiple reminder emails before my appointment.
What was it like getting that vaccine dose in my arm?
Last Friday morning, I made my way up to the vaccination clinic, and the volunteers outside guided me to my spot in the queue for my 8:00 AM appointment. From there, it was basically an assembly line from the socially distanced line outside to the check-in tables inside. Once my appointment slot was confirmed, staff and volunteers guided me to a room where I took my seat by a table.
I was asked which arm I wanted the needle in, and I selected my right arm. Within minutes, someone came in with “the jab” and injected my right arm. The actual vaccine shot experience began and concluded in seconds. Even though I saw the syringe with the long needle and that long-awaited vaccine dose, I actually felt no pain as it was happening.
From the room, the staff guided me to a “post-jab waiting room” where I sat down for another 15 minutes so volunteers could watch for any potential adverse reactions. I just sat in the room with proper social distancing from others who had also just “gotten the jab” until the volunteers gave me the green light to gather my items and leave. It was a few minutes later when I took the parking lot selfie that you may or may not have seen on Instagram.
In case you didn’t scrutinize every slide of my Instagram post, here’s where I disclose which vaccine I got.
Before I even entered into “the jab room”, the staff had already scheduled me for my second vaccine appointment three weeks later. They also presented me with my official CDC vaccination card (no, I’m not showing it, and here’s why) and an informational booklet about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that includes legal disclaimers about the FDA’s emergency use authorization and additional information on the ingredients of the vaccine.
Yes, I received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Again, I did not specifically seek out this one particular vaccine. Had I received Moderna’s or Johnson & Johnson’s, I still would have been happy. It just so happened that this SNHD vaccination site was stocked up with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and had the “extra-extra cold storage” equipment to safely store this mRNA vaccine.
All in all, I have no complaints about my experience at this vaccination site. I’m scheduled to return later this month, and I’m very much looking forward to receiving that second “jab” so I can finally achieve full vaccination next month. (It takes about two weeks after the second dose for the two vaccine doses to fully take effect.)
How have I been feeling since Friday?
No, I have not found any “Mark of the Beast” anywhere on my body. No, I can not telepathically communicate with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, the late Jeffrey Epstein, or anyone else through some special microchip implant that I don’t even have. And no, I’m not experiencing any of the alleged “adverse reactions” that anti-vaxxers like Stella Immanuel (aka, “Dr. Demon Sperm”) have been hyping up on her Facebook and Instagram pages.
Shortly after I returned home, I did start to feel a little tired and a slight sore spot on the arm where I got the vaccine shot. I still felt a bit of soreness in that area the next morning, but it wasn’t even enough for me to cancel my usual Saturday morning superwalk. As I’m writing this now, I barely even feel any soreness on that part of my arm.
So that’s it. That’s all I can say about my COVID-19 vaccine experience thus far. If you haven’t done so yet, please consider embarking upon your own vaccination journey. It’s your choice to make, and it’s a choice that can potentially be very life-saving and incredibly helpful in putting an end to this pandemic once and for all.
Editor’s Note: Just before this story got published, news broke about federal regulators recommending a “pause” in using Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine following six reported blood clot cases and one of those six cases becoming fatal. Does this sound eerily familiar yet? (Hint: Think Europe and AstraZeneca.) While this likely won’t have much effect on overall vaccine supply, this J&J “pause” may particularly affect patients in the most hard-to-serve regions where public health offices were counting on J&J and their easier-to-administer one-dose shot to bring to these communities. Stay tuned for a special COVID-19 Update tomorrow, where we’ll dive deeper into the real issues beyond this morning’s breaking news headlines.
If you have further questions about COVID-19 and your health, check Immunize Nevada for more information on vaccine availability in your area, check Nevada Health Response for testing in your area, and check Nevada 211 for more health care resources. If you’re in need of additional aid, check the Nevada Current’s and Battle Born Progress’ resource guides. If you can afford proper treatment and you are fortunate enough to help others in need, please donate to larger operations like Direct Relief and Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, and to local groups like Three Square. And for goodness sake, please wear your masks and maintain social distancing from people outside your household.