I feel relieved. I do not feel completely safe, but the first big step was taken. And it was so easy. And without pain or complications.
I got the coronavirus vaccine. No, I did not use my influence to ‘cut the line.’ I do not consider it moral. I simply belong to the age group of 65 and over.
The difficult part – very difficult – is making an appointment. It takes hours, if you are lucky.
The websites, email addresses and phone numbers through which you can request and make the appointments are flooded with requests, which results in appointments that are months away.
So one must persist. My advice: try various sites, call a plethora of phone numbers, send many emails. (I list the websites I used at the end of this commentary). Children and grandchildren are very helpful and useful for this task.
But you need to be careful and give them the right information because some of the sites ask security questions that you may have forgotten the answers to over time. If you/they give a wrong answer, the specific website locks you out for a period of time.
Provided that you eventually are able to register for the vaccination, you will receive an email which contains information about the vaccine as well as two forms that you must fill out and take with you on the day of you vaccination.
When filling these forms out, be very careful and meticulous. Make sure that the answers you provide match your documentation exactly. For example, make sure the way you spell your name in English matches your driver's license or your social security card. The medical questions you are required to answer – especially those about having allergies – are also very important. Don’t forget to take these forms with you. Without them, you will not be able to get the vaccine and you will have to re-register.
I got the vaccine at Elmhurst High School in Queens. It is located in a quiet area, with tree-lined streets, but it is difficult to find a place to park.
There was no line. Almost as soon as I entered, I was greeted by a nurse. After I told her that I was there for the vaccine, she accompanied me inside and led me to a large room, which was probably the school gym.
It was a large space, spotless, with individual tables set up for processing people. On one side of the table were staffers who checked the forms and registered them on their tablets. I was told to go to a specific table where a polite lady of Asian descent went over all my documentation with me. She also arranged for my next appointment in just a few minutes. I happened to receive the Moderna vaccine – you have no choice, but both vaccines are equally as effective.
When we were finished, she guided me to a gentleman who led me to the place where I would be given the vaccine. They have a number of rooms where they welcome you, ask you some more medical questions – if you have allergies, if you have received any other vaccines, i.e. for the flu in the past 14 days – and then, inject you with the vaccine. It does not hurt at all.
From there, I was told to walk a little further and was asked to sit for 15-20 minutes to be monitored for any side effects.
At that time, another employee came and filled out the time in which my monitoring period commenced. They do this so that they can keep track of everyone and make sure that they stay for the full time required. After my 15 minutes lapsed, I was told I could leave.
I emphasize that all of the medical workers, the staff and the volunteers I interacted with were very kind.
Although they warned me that I may feel some side effects in the days following the vaccination, I did not feel any. I just feel relieved.
Of course, I will not go ‘crazy’ now: I did not and will not throw away my mask. I will continue social distancing. And I will do the same after the second vaccine, in 28 days.
Unfortunately, there are millions of vaccines that are not being used.
As President Biden often says, we are facing a national and global crisis. And this must be addressed with logic.
It is unacceptable that less than 100 million doses of the vaccine have been administered internationally. And that in most countries, no vaccines have been administered at all.