Getting the Covid-19 vaccine felt like finally taking a deep breath after holding in the air for far too long. The pandemic is still a long way from over but receiving the shot acted as a symbol of hope for myself and many others.
The week leading up to my vaccine appointment was filled with excitement and nerves. Getting the flu shot has always been something I dreaded, even at 17, and the covid vaccine was only slightly different. For once I had been looking forward to getting a vaccine, although the usual dread was still there.
“You’re doing this to keep yourself and others safe,” I kept telling myself. “Maybe soon you can finally visit your grandparents again.”
The morning of my appointment was unexpectedly mundane and filled with this mantra. It started by logging in to my first block class and felt no different than any other day that week. It wasn’t until I got in the car, skipping third block, that I began to feel butterflies in my stomach.
Being under 18, I had to go to the vaccine clinic in Whitehall because they were giving out the Pfizer shot, which is the only current vaccination available to my age group. My dad and I drove there with the windows down and music blasting, because despite having my license I couldn’t go alone. If you are under 18 years old, a guardian must accompany you to your appointment.
Once we arrived, I quickly jumped out of the car and walked inside where I was given a packet filled with information about the Pfizer vaccination and was instructed to wait in line. After only a few moments of waiting I was led to one of the three tables they had set up. There I confirmed my appointment, scheduled my second dosage, and was given a pink sticker to put on my shirt.
After finishing up at the first table, I had to wait in line once again before getting my shot, but after a year of waiting a few more minutes didn’t feel like much. Before I knew it, I was told which table number to go to where I would finally be getting the vaccine.
The woman who was waiting for me blushed as she informed me that she had to ask some less than comfortable questions before giving me my shot. She quickly went through the basics such as age, if it was my first or second dose, and if I consented to getting it, before looking at me and saying that she had to ask the questions she had previously warned me about. Now it was my turn to blush and avoid eye contact with my dad as she asked if I was planning on starting a family any time soon. After giving a confident no, she started to wipe my arm down and begin small talk, sensing my nerves from a mile away. Before I knew it the needle was in and out of my arm and it was over. I was shocked at how little it had hurt and giddy at the idea that soon enough I’d be fully vaccinated.
That night the only side effects were a mildly sore arm and drowsiness, but my relief outweighed it all. I proudly wore my “I got my shot” sticker all day and quickly began the countdown to the next dose.