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Last night I got my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID. I feel like it should have been easier than this.

I got my first dose of the vaccine at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, which we found out later was a county-run rather than a state-run location. Cardinals Stadium in Glendale is a state site. So the difference amounted to not getting the email about my second appointment for an anxiety-inducing long time. So when a new block opened up at the stadium, I signed up to get my second shot on the 21st day after my first, at the earliest opportunity. My husband’s appointment for his first dose is two days later.

We arrived at the stadium, got my appointment number chalked on the windshield, and wove through a maze of cones and banners toward the check-in tents. When we pulled up, the lady checked my number and couldn’t find me. She searched for my birthday and couldn’t find me. She searched by my name and couldn’t find me. She took my ID and walked off to find a supervisor. I stared at my appointment confirmation email on my phone while she did all of this.

The supervisor returns and, after asking to look at my email, handed me a clipboard. “We are going to sign you in as a walk-in, which doesn’t even exist right now. We can’t take walk-in rights right now because it’s possible that people with appointments won’t get their short today because our daily inventory is low.” That’s why my husband was not one of the lucky ones that we have heard stories about who got to get their dose early by coming along with someone who had an appointment sooner than them.

I filled out the form, the lady made me a new appointment on her tablet, and the confirmation email for an appointment slot one hour before appeared. We turned the truck back on and moved through the second maze to the next set of tents, where they covered the same questions before sending us under the second tent where a younger man gloved up, came around to the passenger door, and quickly injected me. He must have seen that we were younger as we pulled up, even with our masks on, because he said to me, “Alright, I will give you this if when I do you scream, FUCK COVID,” which of course I agreed to. But if you have had the vaccine yet, you know it goes by so quickly that I barely got out the FU.. before he said, “okay, you’re good to go.”

A third maze brought us to the line of cars waiting their 15 minutes to see if they have a bad reaction before pulling out and heading back home. I now had my second dose, and my husband has yet to get his first, so we didn’t need the help of the people milling between cars signing up people for second doses who had just gotten their first.

We got to the front of the escape line and then were released, maybe a few minutes before the 15 were really up, but we were off. My COVID card is complete. When I got my first dose, the guidance was that 30 days after your second dose is your true “good to go” date because it has had time to take effect, but in the last three weeks, that has been shortened to two weeks. I don’t know if that is smart or accurate, or if, like everything, people want this to hurry along so things can go back to “normal” after we have been at this for a year. But vaccines are still hard to get, kids can’t get it, and we don’t know how long it will be effective, so maybe we shouldn’t get too excited.

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This item was submitted on February 4, 2021 by Erica Price using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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