I don’t have a story about going to a mass clinic or being in a risk group like Carin does. I got my first shot because I happen to be over 40 and they decided to release some AstraZeneca to select pharmacies and doctor’s offices for us. My doctor ended up on the list, so I called and got an appointment.
Luckily I didn’t have anything I couldn’t stop doing last Friday morning when the email came. I was on the phone shortly after nine. The friendly automated system told me there were 14 people ahead of me (I wish more companies would do that, it’s nice), and by the time I spoke to one of the receptionists maybe 20 minutes later, the earliest date left in the weeks worth of appointments they were offering was Wednesday afternoon. Had I waited even a few minutes longer to call, I likely would have been SOL.
I would have been ok with that, by the way. It’s nice to have gotten my first needle, but there are so many people who should be getting theirs before me. Teachers, delivery people, taxi and transit drivers, factory workers, store clerks…basically anyone we’re relying on to keep things functioning who can’t do their thing while chilling at the house like I can. Honestly, every level of government involved in Canada’s vaccine program should be ashamed of itself for not letting all those people jump the line given what we expect of them.
But anyway, back to me.
Wednesday afternoon, I poured the unhealthily stressed bundle of nerves I call my body into a cab and headed for the doctor. The whole experience, as these things go, was good. I had nice cab drivers, the office wasn’t busy, and there were no giant hurdles standing between me and what I came for. I walked in, the lady at the front desk asked me if I was experiencing anything that might be Coronavirus, I said no, she processed my health card and handed me some paperwork with some vaccine info and my next appointment date on it, she got the nurse, we walked to a room, she asked me a few more questions about allergies and the like, we made a couple jokes back and forth, she swabbed my arm, she poked me, I waited in the room for a few minutes to make sure they didn’t shoot me full of fast acting death, they said I could leave, I left. That was the whole thing, until…
I felt completely normal until around 10 o’clock that night. That’s when the tiredness started. Not the it’s time for bed tiredness, although there was some of that. This was the sort of tiredness where it feels like you and the whole world around you are slowing down and you’re starting to get heavy. I eventually went to bed, still feeling mostly fine. A few hours later, I woke up feeling a bit chilly. I put a blanket on and went back to sleep. A while later I woke up again, feeling even colder. Crap. Here we go.
I know a few people who have gotten the AstraZeneca shot, and they all seem to have a similar story. The nurse even told me not to make any plans for the next day or two that didn’t involve spending the whole thing feeling like I had either a flu or a hangover. I would put it somewhere between bad man cold and flu-like symptoms. I was tired, I was achy, I was hot and cold. I wasn’t good for much that wasn’t sending the odd text or watching TV. Today my body feels quite a bit better, but I don’t think my brain has caught up. I’m having trouble with the whole words thing. It’s taking me forever to write this, and all the typos I keep making aren’t helping. But over all, it seems like I’m in the group of what’s becoming common for this vaccine, so that’s comforting.
I need something to be comforting, for god’s sake.
I mentioned being stressed to hell. I was like that not only for my dose, but also for Carin’s even though we didn’t get the same one. It’s not that I don’t trust the vaccines. I do, at least as much as you can trust something that’s been developed in record time and without room for the standard testing processes. I don’t believe anyone who says that they’re 100% safe, because nobody can possibly know that. I do believe that they’re almost certainly safer than COVID, so there was no chance I wasn’t going to get one when my turn came around. I expected some nervousness (I said that from day one), but I didn’t expect to be so anxious that I was bordering on non-functional in the hours leading up to our appointments.
Beyond that bit of healthy skepticism, there’s another problem. I’m not sure who the blame needs to be pinned on here and how fair it even is to pin it given how quickly everything around the pandemic evolves, but the messaging that’s going out about AZ in particular is absolutely horrendous.
Don’t give it to the old people. It’ll kill them. Wait, did I say old people? I meant young people. Sorry about that. Actually no. Go ahead and give it to young people, but make sure they’re not too young. That’s dangerous. Hold on, a couple of people out of several million got blood clots that may or may not be related. Stop! Kill this stuff with fire! Throw it in the garbage! Why are those people killing it with fire? It’s safe for everyone!
I still have no time for anti-vaccers and their dumb conspiracy theories and debunked studies, but friends, if you’re questioning whether or not you should get a COVID vaccine, I understand. I still say go for it because it’s going to be better than the alternative, but I’m not going to fault you for stopping to mull it over.
Ok, I think I’m done. That was hard. And now I’m sweating again. I think I’m going to need a bit of a rest before I try doing anything else that takes effort. Hopefully the second shot is easier on me. I’ll find out in August.