I Got the COVID-19 Vaccine and Had a Very Different Side Effect
About a week and a half ago I got the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. After I received the shot, I sat and waited for 15 minutes as is the procedure. It wasn't until I got in my car that started feeling bad.
Physically I was fine. The side effect of the vaccine I got was mental. It was guilt.
When the New Jersey Department of Health rolled out the registration website, I hopped on and filled out the form as I'm sure you probably did. I answered all questions honestly. I got an email confirmation informing me that I was in Group 1C. To the best of my knowledge that is the group with the lowest priority.
Based on what I read online, most registered in group 1C would be informed that they would get the green light to make an appointment sometime in May.
That wasn't the case for me. Two and a half weeks ago I got an email informing me that I was able to make an appointment to get the vaccine.
I was shocked. So many people in my life who are older and have pre-existing conditions still hadn't gotten that email. In fact, I know people in group 1B that still haven't gotten the go-ahead. I even know first responders that are still waiting for their turns.
As you know, just because you are allowed to get an appointment, doesn't mean you can easily get one. I searched a pretty wide radius and every single vaccination site was booked solid for a very long time.
Just for the heck of it, I checked out Rowan University in Glassboro. Not only was I able to get an appointment within a week, but I was also able to choose my day and time. I went on a weekend so it didn't interfere with my work schedule.
As I walked back to my car after getting the shot and scheduling my second one, I noticed a long line of people bundled up in lawn chairs waiting outside of the first checkpoint. I asked one of the officers who they were, and he told me they are waiting for the end of the day's appointments because sometimes there are no-shows, and sites are left with extra vaccines.
The people on this line were much older than I am. It was at this point that a tremendous amount of guilt came over me. Why did I get called? Why are family, friends, and co-workers that need the vaccine more than me still waiting? Should I have not made an appointment and just waited so someone more in need would get my spot? These were just some of the questions going through my head as I drove an hour and a half back home to the Shore.
Truthfully, I could've gotten the vaccine a long time ago through connections that I've made through working at The Point for the past ten years. I chose not to. I wanted to wait my turn just like everyone else. Even so, I still feel guilty. I'm wondering if this guilt is worse than the physical side effects some can get from the vaccine.
Day by day it sounds like we are seeing more light at the end of the tunnel. More vaccines will become available. The President says they will be available to all by the end of May. I hope that turns out to be true.
As I write this I question whether I did the right thing. I just want those most vulnerable to be safe and ultimately everyone who chooses to get vaccinated to do so. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. However, we are headed in the right direction.
Peace, love, and health to you. Reach out any time. firstname.lastname@example.org.