a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: COVID-19 Vaccinations Part 1

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccinations Part 1

SUMMARY: Feb 22: I'm a one-fer! And in 3 weeks, hope to be a two-fer!


From notes on February 8:

COVID vaccination: I have an appointment for the 22nd of February, about half an hour from home.  Getting any appointment was a challenge! Plenty of folks on Facebook talking about struggles to find an open appointment, or traveling an hour or two to get one. Kaiser members were supposed to go through Kaiser and other sites were turning Kaiser folks away, and Kaiser was still limiting to over 75, so I was stuck.

Then, on Feb. 8, Santa Clara County stepped up and offered vax to anyone who lives or works in the county (and who meets the other qualifications due to limited vaccine availability, such as over 65 or being an essential care worker). 

So, on February 8, I tried:

  • Fairgrounds, which is close to me, had no appointments available.
  • Everything else was farther away or had no appointments. 
  • So I looked at what I figured was the farthest-away option for most Santa Clara County people (Valley Health Center in Gilroy), and Lo! they had tons of appointments starting on the 11th!  
But it wasn't quite that simple:
I went thru the sign-up process, including picking one of their listed times on the 11th, Yayyy! But it said sorry it can’t schedule it. So I went back, and then it listed times only from the 16th! And those were almost all taken already! So I picked one and raced thru the options and--- it said it couldn’t schedule it. So back to the beginning and all of those dates had vanished, too, so I went to the last date available for scheduling, and finally it went thru. So not until the 22nd!  They must have just opened up dates for that location and word got out fast and I wasn’t fast enough to get something soon, but at least fast enough to get something.  

From notes on Feb 22:
I couldn’t get into the places closest to me, so I signed up to go way down to Gilroy for my first dose (a bit more than a half-hour drive). 

[ignore numbers by photos]

They were ready for huge long lines. I apparently picked the right date and time.
A couple waiting in the fairly short line inside said that they had driven by 
a few days earlier and the line went all the way around the parking lot.

They labeled everything very well. It was calming in the face of COVID-19.

The pre-existing round bench, one of many places we could sit to fill out our forms,
had a 6-foot-distance reminder sticker.
In fact, everything did. Lots of the usual floor stickers for the lines.

I'm inside and waiting in line #4 of 5 (all of which were short).
1) Get check-in forms and fill them out.
2) Usual test for fever and responding to questions about health.
3) Quick check of your paperwork and ID and appointment confirmation.
4) Full check-in with your medical ID and everything goes into the system.
5) Get poked with a sharp pointy thing that didn't hurt worth mentioning.

Reading material about the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines while standing in line. Convenient.
And note the usual floor sticker.

Keep your distance! In four languages!
All are common enough here that it's well worth accommodating them.
(English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese.)

Line #4, almost to the front.
I took no more detailed photos because I didn't want to 
post recognizable people online or have to edit them out.

All the stations had large acrylic dividers between them and us.
Between those everywhere now, and masks, and me being deaf in one ear--
it's often hard to hear clearly.

After my full check-in, they whisked me to a station to get my shot.
Right past a huge line of people waiting for their vax, 
but they all needed the Moderna and I had Pfizer.

I don't know how those decisions were made;
likely by their usual service provider due to availability?
After the shot, lines and signs directed me to the waiting area.

They keep you for 15 minutes, socially distanced from a bunch of others,
to ensure that you don't suddenly keel over, explode, or burst into flames.
They slapped a sticker on each person for what time the 15 minutes was up.
I liked that.

After the shot, on my way home, I made a quick stop at the Gilroy Outlet Center. 
In normal times, a bustling place.
In these times, not many cars or people, quite a few empty shops.

Signs everywhere:
On walkways, on stores' windows or doors, inside the shops, on benches, restrooms...
I plan on posting a good sampling of those at some point.
Haha. You know my track record for this.

A mobile COVID-testing station. "We accept insurance."
My medical HMO (Kaiser) did this for free onsite--with a pretty long line for drive-through tests.
I had one back in November and came out clear.

And it was all worthwhile, because I got this button!! Yay!

NOW I just wait 3 weeks more or less exactly for the 2nd shot; they already set me up for that down here in Gilroy again. So nice not to worry about it!

P.S. I had virtually no symptoms from the first shot. Tiny soreness in my arm at the vax site, but only if I thought about it and touched it. Yayyyy!

P.P.S. (Noted on March 24) I haven't talked about my concerns about vaccines that were developed so quickly without the possibility of long-term testing. All that are approved are through an emergency OK after whatever testing the CDC required for emergencies.  So: NONE ARE OFFICIALLY APPROVED yet.  But I accepted that this IS an emergency situation, after all, and we need to put a clamp on the virus spreading because it's already mutated too much into nastier versions because it has had so many willing hosts (won't wear masks, won't socially distance--you know the lot).  

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