Our Experiences With the COVID-19 Vaccine

It went from a headache to total convenience.

Patrick J. Regal
Mar 11 · 3 min read
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I am a public school teacher who is headed back to the classroom right after spring break. Taylor is currently employed as an essential worker. We both found ourselves in the early phases of vaccine distribution, but the process of signing up here in Maryland was all but smooth.

Despite our Governor, Larry Hogan, touting on March 2nd that “We’re now averaging a new record of 35,730 shots per day” — this was not the reality at the beginning of vaccine rollout. Maryland still ranks 25th in percentage of population vaccinated, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

On January 27, I did what most concerned citizens do…and turned to Facebook, tagging the page for Governor Hogan in the post:

Hogan must have read my post because we were both able to get appointments not long after.

For awhile, we would get texts (yes — texts!) from the state saying “New appointments available!” and, of course, we would instantly click the link. Already gone. One night, I sat refreshing the appointment page every 5 minutes for hours. Nothing. I’m pretty sure I was on a waiting list’s waiting list for awhile.

Nevertheless, I eventually got an early Saturday morning appointment at the Baltimore Convention Center, about a ten minute walk from our apartment. How convenient!

Convenience really was the word of the day when I went in for my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Health care workers at the site were friendly, kept the line moving, celebrated, laughed, and got me out in under an hour.

I can’t stand needles, but this was quick and painless. I found some dedicated time to listen to my new favorite podcast, got some fresh air along my walk, and had a pretty good excuse for a breakfast out as a treat. As if protection from a deadly virus wasn’t enough of a treat!

I go back for my second dose in just over a week.

Taylor’s experience was equally convenient, but looked quite different.

While my appointment was a ten minute walk, her appointment was a ninety minute drive down to southern Maryland.

However, despite the commute, it couldn’t have been any easier at this mass vaccination site — Regency Furniture Stadium, home of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball’s Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. (A positive of the travel: we found a new ballpark!)

The line moved fast and we were out in an hour. The people were friendly, you couldn’t see their smiles behind their masks, but you could spot them in the wrinkle of their eyes. And you can’t beat not having to get out of the car!

I drove because Taylor was worried about her reaction as she too hates needles. And despite her anxiety, she took it like a champ.

Her Johnson & Johnson one-and-done shot has given her some pretty gnarly side effects. Exhaustion, chills, aches — but it’s all better than having Coronavirus! I felt some pretty hardcore arm pain after my first shot and I’m equipped with Advil for my second dose.

Above all, we are happy to see our friends and families safer from the virus. all of my living grandparents are fully vaccinated. My parents are as well. I will go back work with vaccinated colleagues. It feels nice to have it in my arm, but it is even nicer to see brighter days ahead.

Welcome to A Good Year, our mission to make 2021 great by trying one new thing every week. To follow us, you can read this diary on Medium and follow us on Instagram: @diaryofagoodyear

52 weeks, 52 new experiences, 52 opportunities to make 2021 A Good Year.

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