Doses of Hope: My COVID-19 Vaccine Experience, as a Black journalist
Doses of Hope: My COVID-19 vaccine experience, as a Black journalist
With the increase of COVID-19 cases and deaths daily, last year was a standstill for everyone. The constant enforcement of social distancing, masks and demand for disinfectant products would become our new reality. Fast forward to April 2021.
Although it’s been a year and one month, the U.S. is still underway with progressing from financial/economic loss early on in the pandemic. However, this year is a little more promising with hope: The COVID-19 vaccine has finally made its way to the public.
The first group of people that were eligible for the vaccines would be the elderly and frontline/healthcare workers. Next would be teachers and anyone 16 years of age or older with serious health conditions.
Currently, anyone 16 years of age or older is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of health conditions. This prompted me to get vaccinated immediately, despite backlash from my family and being a young woman of color. I felt that receiving a vaccine would relieve my anxiety about the virus and help protect myself and others.
I still have a fear of spreading the virus to others unknowingly after contracting COVID-19 last year in September, although I was asymptomatic.
There was no questioning whether I should get a shot at that point. After failed attempts at scheduling an appointment, a Black elder co-worker suggested I go to where she went to get her shot: fultoncountyga.gov.
Following the clear instructions, I scheduled my vaccine for Apr. 2nd at 1:30 p.m. When the day arrived, I found myself a bit nervous about what others were saying about their experience.
Ignoring the negativity, I parked in front of the Georgia International Convention Center and grabbed my wallet, since I would need an ID and my mask.
As I proceeded toward the entrance, I was greeted with a warm smile and directed to the front door. I was asked to pull out my ID and waved toward tables that were for people receiving their first dose.
The long line I was originally standing in was for people taking their second dosage, though.
Upon arriving at the proper table, the greeters checked my identification and appointment confirmation, along with my date of birth.
From there, I was directed to another table where I had to fill out personal information. After that, a different greeter guided me to what looked like a ballroom where I sat down on the side where one waits to get vaccinated (aka a pop-up waiting room).
I sat down for barely five minutes before the greeter brought it to my attention that they were ready for me. Walking into the tent, a nurse greeted me and asked for my name and date of birth for confirmation. Replying with the information, the nurse asked my preference of arm to get the shot.
“The left one is fine,” I told her. I remember asking whether I should close my eyes, but before I could finish my statement, she was done.
“If you experience any discomfort throughout the following days, Tylenol should help with the soreness. Would you like a Band-Aid?” she asked. I took the band-aid as she advised me to sit and time myself for 15 minutes on the other side of the ballroom, where others had just been vaccinated.
“Thank you,” I replied, setting the 15 minutes on my timer. As I sat down, I stared at my new vaccination card, wondering if this was “the mark of the beast” that Christians always referred to in the Bible.
“Wow! This is officially the new reality,” I thought to myself.
Another greeter came to check on me, informing me that the EMT is on-site if I’m not feeling okay.
“I’m fine, thank you. I was inquiring how I would go about scheduling my appointment for my second dosage?” I asked. The greeter said I would receive an email in a few days after I leave that would let me schedule and choose where I would like to be vaccinated.
“Okay, thank you so much!” I replied.
As my 15 minutes came to an end, a lady thanked me for coming and offered a Fulton County mask.
When I was home, I found myself waiting for some negative symptoms to kick in at some point, yet I felt nothing. The following day I did the same, but I only felt slight soreness at the puncture site. Aside from that, it was like nothing even happened. I instantly informed my friends and family to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.
For once since the pandemic, I felt that we could overcome this virus collectively.
However, I still wear my mask, wash my hands frequently and social distance due to only a portion of people getting vaccinated. I also advise everyone else to do the same afterward, as it is between 94-95% effective and it protects everyone in the end.
I hope that any skepticism you may have will change, especially after more research, because one’s decision to get vaccinated affects us all.