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My Focus On The COVID-19 Vaccine

For the last two months I’ve focused entirely on getting vaccinated. I signed up with our county health department, our local hospital, my general medical practice. I got on a list at Rite Aid and CVS and Walgreen’s. I drove over to a local pharmacy that required in-person registration and filled out a form for my wife B and myself. I signed up at grocery stores Wegman’s and Weiss and Giant.

covid-19 vaccine

I had each of these tagged on the bookmark page of my browser and checked through them several times a day. The only message I ever got was:  Appointments Unavailable. Fully Booked. No Vaccines. Sales ended. Registrations Closed. 

B had pretty much the same experience. And together we watched as a lot of our friends and relatives started getting vaccinated, while we felt left behind.

But I Registered First!

Then last Monday, after dinner, B checked her email once again and . . . there it was! She’d received an email from the county. She couldn’t believe it! Suddenly, she was allowed to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine.

My response:  What!?! I’d signed up with the county before she did. I got my name on the list on January 17; she hadn’t signed up until January 20. Also, I happen to be older than she is. We assumed I’d be contacted first. I should have been contacted first!

She scheduled her appointment for Thursday at our community college. She, too, wondered why I hadn’t been contacted, told me to double-check my email.

One COVID-19 Vaccine Is Better Than None

She felt a little guilty that she had gotten an appointment, and not me. She even wondered if she could somehow give her appointment to me. But I said, no, no, that wouldn’t be right, and besides she probably couldn’t do it anyway, and I reminded her that this was good news since it’s better that one of us is vaccinated than neither of us.

Still, I wondered:  Were they skipping over me? Was I going to be denied a vaccine because somehow the bureaucratic machinery didn’t accept my registration? 

We couldn’t figure it out. But I kept looking. Then on Tuesday night I received an email from the hospital. Spots were opening up the next day starting at 8 a.m. 

Am I Really Getting My Vaccine?

So I went on my computer at 7:55. I checked the website, as I’d done many times before. The new sign-up sheet was there. I clicked on it and saw:  Fully Booked. Fully Booked. Fully Booked.

Geez, not again! Then at the bottom of the page I saw a phone number for those who had trouble signing up online. So I figured: What the heck. I called the number. It was 8:01 a. m. I got a recording. I was number 12 in the queue.

Number 12, I thought. There’s no way. I might as well just hang up. But I had nothing else to do, so I put the phone on Speaker and propped it on the corner of my desk. 

Number 11 . . . Number 9 . . . Number 5 . . . and finally a woman — a real person! — answered the phone.

I felt ridiculous even asking. But I plowed ahead. “I’m calling to see if I can get a COVID-19 vaccine.”

“Sure, I can help you with that,” she said.

Wait, I thought, is this for real? She took my name and birthdate and booked an appointment for 9:20 a.m. the same day.

I’ll Believe It When I See It

I still wasn’t sure I believed it, but I got dressed and B drove me down to the hospital. I went in the front door and was met by a volunteer. Would he let me through?

Yes! He ushered me into the proper hallway. Another volunteer asked for my license and Medicare card. A very nice nurse gave me the shot. Didn’t hurt at all. She told me to drink plenty of water and take Tylenol, not Advil, if I had any aches or pains.

I got a Pfizer vaccine. I was handed a card with my appointment for the second shot, then I spent 15 minutes in the waiting area to make sure there were no side-effects. Then I walked out to the parking lot and met up with B.

The next day we made the trip to the community college, and I in turn waited while B got her shot. 

B got her vaccination the way it’s supposed to happen. I stumbled into a lucky break. But I can say to those who have not yet received their shots: Keep the faith. They are coming.

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About The Author
Tom Lashnits
Tom Lashnits
Tom Lashnits spent 40 years in New York book and magazine publishing before retiring to Bucks County, PA, in 2017. He now volunteers in the school system, produces the baby boomer blog Sightings Over Sixty . . . and is just starting to chase after grandchildren.
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