I Finally Got Vaccinated — And What Happened Next

I finally got vaccinated. After one and a half years of wearing masks, worrying constantly, and washing hands, I am now fully vaccinated. When the FDC first announced that they had approved a vaccine for the Coronavirus in January, I met this announcement with much skepticism, fear, and dread. I feared getting that shot in my arm almost as much as the possibility of getting the ventilator at the hospital after being diagnosed with covid-19. I was standing between two sides of fear, not sure which way to go. Eventually, I decided to get vaccinated. This is my Covid-19 vaccination story — and what happened next.

vaccine text and a person wearing latex glove while holding a syringe on pink background
Photo by Thirdman on Pexels.com

My Covid-19 Vaccination Story, part I

Making the decision to do it

Initially, I was terrified to get the covid-19 vaccination. Like the flu shot, or any kind of treatment that involves the needle piercing the skin, I wanted to avoid getting it if I could help it. If the vaccination had been a pill instead, then I would have gladly taken it — and much sooner at that. After all, a pill that you can take orally is painless, quick and easy compared to that sharp needle in the arm. Furthermore, I could have taken that pill with a nice cool cup of OJ or my favorite brand of flavored sparkling water (Ice, of course). It would have been a more pleasant experience, but since there is currently no covid-19 vaccination pill, that is a moot point.

To be honest, what really got over my fear of getting the Covid-19 shot was the imminent death of a family member. Because of Covid, I haven’t seen her for a year and a half. And because of her fragile condition, I wasn’t able to see her unless I was fully vaccinated. So, wanting to help her more, I decided to get vaccinated. My fear of losing her without helping her outweighed my fear of the vaccine.

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Once I made the decision to get the vaccine, it was as if all of the weight and worry were lifted off my shoulders, and miraculously my fear left me. What replaced the fear was excitement. I was excited to see how it would affect me and I was excited to document the process. I was still dreading that needle in my arm, but it was with a rather morbid interest, much like how some people are fascinated by blood and gore.

That ill-fated first day

On the day of, I didn’t make an appointment to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Instead, I made a spur of the moment decision and pointed my car in the direction of the nearest Publix. I walked right in. Once in, I had to brazenly go through a crowd of people waiting in line to pay for their groceries. On the other side of this crowd was the pharmacy, which at this point looked like a beacon of both light and darkness, a determiner of what happens next.

Well, that first I showed up without an appointment. And then I was turned away. I was told that they weren’t giving vaccines out on that particular day. Both disappointed and relieved, I turned away and left.

The next day

The next day, I came back, with my son in tow, to once again request the vaccination. I was hoping that the second time would be the charm, because I couldn’t face another rejection. As luck would have it, they were doing vaccines on that day.

Thankfully, there wasn’t a lot of people getting the Covid-19 vaccine on that particular day. There was just one elderly couple getting the vaccine. I suppose that many of them had gotten the vaccine at the first opportunity. So, by waiting to get the vaccine, I didn’t have to wait too long to get that first jab.

Filling out the immunization consent form while getting vaccinated.
Filling out the immunization form from my little corner of the store

While waiting, I had to fill out two forms of paperwork. It was just a consent form, asking me if I had been sick with any flu-like symptoms or was pregnant or breastfeeding. I had to sign to give my consent to receive the vaccine. With fascination, I signed and gave my consent. Doing so felt like a contract, a promise that I had to fulfill. It was certainly a responsibility that continued to weigh heavily upon me.

I’m not sure how long I waited to get the first jab. But it certainly felt long enough. I think it was more than ten minutes but probably not more than twenty. I wiled away the time by keeping my 1 year old son entertained. He didn’t want to sit in the Publix buggy (don’t you just love that word?) so I kept him on my lap some, and then I let him push the shopping cart around while I kept a firm hold so that he wouldn’t knock things over.

A small child sitting in a Publix buggy.
My 1 year old son sitting in his favorite Publix shopping cart

Getting the first shot

Soon, much too soon, they called my name. I picked up my son and then together we took those steps up to the counter, where people normally go to pay for their prescriptions. They had me sign on the electronic keypad to once again give consent. (By the way, can anyone sign their name correctly on those keypads?). Once that was done, I was directed into a room in the back. This room was so small with counters that lined one side. On the other side were windows but the shades were drawn so people could not see in. There were two chairs in the room: one was a rolling backless chair that could spin, and another was a black plastic chair. To be honest, it felt like an execution room.

So, I sat in the black colored chair holding my son close to me. The pharmacist came into the room shortly after and took his position in the rolling backless chair. As I always do whenever I get a shot, I looked away with my eyes clenched tight, pretending it wasn’t happening in order to minimize the pain as best as I could. And then, just as I thought that, it was over. The needle was being drawn away from my arm and a band aid was covering the punctured area.

After getting the first shot

Relieved, I stood up, but was disappointed to learn that I had to sit just outside at one of the tables for twenty minutes in observation. The pharmacist explained that this was protocol in order to watch for any immediate side effects that might arise from the administration of the vaccine. Resigned, I sat at one of the two tables just outside, feeling like an exhibit at the zoo. I could feel people’s eyes on me. I might as well have had a sign on my forehead saying Not fully vaccinated. Danger. Keep away.

Small child sitting on Mom's lap.
Taking a selfie after getting the first shot

Afterwards, I was relieved to find out that I didn’t experience any side effects from this first shot. Other than some soreness in my left arm where they had stuck the needle, which I had quickly remedied with an over the counter ibuprofen, I was fine. I assumed that I would be fine when I got the second shot a month later. But I found out that I was wrong.


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Hi! I'm Helen and I am a 32 year old biracial millennial mom raising two multiracial children. I am a writer, English consultant, and social media manager. I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic.

28 thoughts on “I Finally Got Vaccinated — And What Happened Next

  1. Hi, Helen. Congrats on getting vaccinated. I am ambivalent about whether or not one gets the shot(s) but Anita and I had opportunity to participate in a clinical trial of one-shot vs two-shot of the J&J vaccine, after the initial phase one trial was complete with no deaths or major side effects.
    Most important is your reason for getting the shots. When we care for others, it motivates us to be at our best.
    And, btw, your SON is as beautiful as you! He must have one handsome DAD! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    โค๏ธ&๐Ÿ™, c.a.

    1. Absolutely, sometimes we just need that little push to do something that seems scary. And then, once it’s done, we find that it wasn’t so bad after all.
      Hope you didn’t encounter too many side effects after participating in the trial

      1. Only normal effects that were expected. The CT was to compare one- vs two-dose regimens of the J&J vaccine; allegedly a one-dose vaccine. I got the two-dose and just felt like a little flu for one day after each.
        Friends in HK, Japan and Korea have worn masks for decades; we will probably do the same here, but by OUR CHOICE.
        I have full respect for those that feel vaccines or masks are unneeded. Certainly NOT the governmentโ€™s job to babysit us and force us to do what is good for us.
        โ€œI predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.โ€ (Thomas Jefferson) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. 100% vaccinated and am planning on getting the booster when I am able to as well. I very much agreed with your take on it. I was hesitant at first, but knew it was for the greater good.

  3. So glad you’re vaccinated! It’s been a blessing and I’m so grateful for everyone in my close circle who’s been able to get protection! ๐Ÿ™ Same as you, the vaccines had no side effects on me other than the super sore arm so for that I’m grateful!

  4. Glad to hear you are full vaccinated. It is a sense of relief to feel youโ€™re actually doing something. Oh, and I was fine after the first shot too. Looking forward to reading about your experience with the second shot to see if itโ€™s similar to mine.

  5. I’m so happy you were able to get vaccinated! I’m super jealous. Here in South Africa the under 35s still have to wait until September before we can get vaccinated.

    1. Thanks! and that’s interesting. But now that you are moving to Australia, will you be able to get vaccinated before September?

      1. I highly doubt it, because South Africa is full of nonsense like that. But luckily it’s not a requirement to emigrate because we have to quarantine for two weeks when we get there.

  6. Congratulations for getting your shot. And it’s very important for all of us to get vaccinated as early as possible so that we can fight against this dengerous pandamic. Well written ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐ŸŒน

  7. Congrats on your first shot and being brave! We have one location that was a drive-through COVID vax center. You make an appointment first, then drive up, give your name so they can check the computer, then you open your door and they give your vaccine on your arm. Then you drive to a line up and wait the 15 minutes.

    1. I’ve heard of those drive by covid shots. Personally I’m glad that I didn’t choose to do that option because that feels like an assembly line & not at all personal.

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