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Gotta Get 'Em Vaccinated - 03/15/2021

As of March 5th, I joined 19% of Americans who are "fully vaccinated" against COVID-19 - that is to say, I had received both of my shots and it had been two full weeks since the second one. I can't tell you what a relief it is to be able to say that! Since the inauguration of President Biden on January 20, and now this personal milestone, I have felt like a great weight has been lifted from my soul. Not only am I moving around more freely in the world, confident that I am likely to stay COVID-free at least for this season, but I also am confident that we once again have competent adults who are doing the right things for the USA.

I wasn't sure it was going to turn out this way. After the January 6th insurrection, I was extremely anxious about another attack of some sort occurring, especially on Inauguration Day. There are still many people who supported Trump and his call to overturn the election results, even with no evidence of voter fraud, and I was concerned that they were not going to give up after just one attempt on the Capitol. But something happened that kind of surprised me - an investigation of the events of January 6th that led to hundreds of arrests, and apparently deterred other potential insurrectionists from staging another "protest." And while the Inauguration itself was a bit surreal, with no audience filling the Mall as in the past, it still had all the comforting elements: the oath of office administered under the adoring gaze of the spouse, a hopeful and uplifting speech, and this time, the stirring words of a young poet laureate whose existence I was previously unaware of. Who knew there was so much positivity left in politics?

Then Joe got right to work, on the same day as the Inauguration! He wasted no time in issuing Executive Orders that undid the worst of the previous President's legacy. Not everyone has been happy about that, of course, but I was thrilled. So far he has been exactly the type of President I think we need right now - warm, cheerful, confident, upbeat - and has made mostly the right moves to get the US on track to having most of the population vaccinated by July. I'd be happier if he would hold an actual press conference - so far, none in the first 50 days, which is not a good look - but I'm not quibbling.

My own vaccine story started when the company I work for, Senior Helpers, issued a mandate to its caregivers: everyone gets vaccinated. No exceptions. I signed up on the website for Tucson Medical Center that the company provided, and headed over to their North location on January 28th. There was a lot of traffic going in, and it was being directed by what appeared to be security guards. There was a maze for us to follow in the parking lot, then we drove to the first floor of the parking garage where shots were being administered. Even though I had an appointment, I still ended up waiting for about 45 minutes before I actually got the shot. The process was very well-organized and staffed by a large number of volunteers and health personnel. At the first stop, the staffer checked your credentials and made sure you were correctly registered. At the next stop, you were asked about reactions, allergies, any known health issues. Then you proceeded to the site where the shot was actually administered, after which you drove to a holding area where you were asked to wait for 15 minutes. Unfortunately, I did have a fairly immediate reaction: nausea, shakiness, and a bad headache. It had been almost four hours since I'd eaten though, so they brought me Ritz Crackers and Gatorade and told me to have lunch beforehand for the next shot. The food helped, and I was on my way in about 40 minutes. But I ended up feeling very tired for the next two days, and my arm was very sore. I didn't work that weekend and by Monday I was fine.

I got the second shot on February 19th. I had been told that this shot was more powerful than the first and to expect a stronger reaction. Within 15 minutes of getting the shot, I felt myself going faint and would have passed out, I think, if I had not been sitting in my car with no danger of falling. I called out to the nurse who had inoculated me, and she came over with food and water. She encouraged me to take deep breaths, and within 15 minutes I was feeling well enough to drive. I was fine within an hour, and the only lingering effect that I felt was a very sore arm. A small price to pay for immunity! And I never even had to leave my car for either shot.

I am very impressed, and very grateful, for the speed of the vaccine rollout and the professionalism with which it is being administered. I'm glad I was in one of the earliest groups. As a Senior caregiver, I'm considered "essential," so we were in the second group or so to get the vaccine here in Arizona. I've read and heard many comments from others who have gotten the shot, others who want to get the shot, and others who say they'll never get it, for various reasons (my favorite being the fifth grader who told me at the Dog Park that "the vaccine makes you lose your faith in Jesus"). I'm not going to argue with them about their reasoning and their conspiracy theories. But I'm old enough to remember when everyone at school got the Polio sugar cube, and when we all lined up for the Smallpox vaccine - no exceptions. And you know what? We eradicated Smallpox. And you don't hear much about Polio these days, either. Sometimes the government has to decide what is the right thing to do as a country, and then get it done. And when that happens, I think it is our civic duty to share in that responsibility by doing our part, whatever that may be. In this case, it was just two shots. If I were still a drinking woman, I'd have a shot or two of tequila in honor of my personal victory over COVID, at least for now. Salut!

#Vaccine #Inauguration #Mandate #SideEffects #FullyImmune #Shots

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