A friend texted me last Thursday around noon that a pop-up clinic in West Oakland had “extra” vaccines, and if I wanted one I should hustle down there and get in line. So, I did.
The line was literally around the block. Before I got a numbered sticker, which would secure whether or not I would receive a vaccine that day, I asked one of the volunteers if I was eligible. Without hesitation, or even asking my particulars, they responded, “Yes, get in line.” I stood in that line for two hours before getting jabbed with the Johnson and Johnson one-dose. One and done.
Getting it was a surprisingly emotional experience and I wanted to share the news online but thought it might seem like I was bragging. I asked a friend, who is a pandemic responder, what they thought. They said that folks should be sharing when they get the vaccine because it will inspire others to get theirs. Ultimately, the community will be safer for all when more people have their shots. So, I shared.
Yes, I’ve felt some side effects. Headache. My arm was sore for about a day. About 24 hours after getting poked, I was overcome with extreme fatigue. Slept for 14 hours straight. Nothing terrible. Felt like I was recovering from a flu. “Brain says go, go, go but body says slow, slow, slow” kind of thing.
The biggest side effect? Feeling guilty.
1, Vaccine envy is real. The response I got from sharing my vacci-news was overwhelmingly enthusiastic and supportive. Though, a few pals expressed privately that they were envious that they haven’t gotten theirs yet, which I **totally** get. I want EVERYONE who wants/needs one to get one and I wish I could make that happen. I got lucky. An opportunity fell in my lap and I ran with it. Still, hard to keep some guilt from creeping in.
2. Also, I learned days later that the FEMA pop-up clinic where I got the shot was set up for the underserved populations in that particular neighborhood. I couldn’t have known that. And, there was no indication of this at the site itself. So, I got a vaccine that was not meant for me. Sigh. I’ve been assured me that I did the right thing with the knowledge I had. My responder friend says if you’re offered a shot, you should take it. (Maybe I should have titled this issue, “Not throwing away my shot.”? har har)
Despite everything, I AM glad I got it. And I’ll be glad when you do too.