The last mile (part three of only three, I hope)

Thorin always wants my sticker! He wanted the vaccine, too, but I reassured him that beings made of vinyl can’t get COVID. Those are dad’s Red Wing boots, incidentally. (I have Timberland.)

Continued from here.

about two weeks after the huge snafu, dad’s health system emailed me to say an appointment was available. (To my mind this is absolutely connected to the fact that the Biden administration immediately got on the job with this task and released its entire supply of vaccines, come what may. It’s going to be one of the many huge debits on the historical balance of the Trump administration that they never took dealing with the pandemic seriously.)

I scheduled him, we went in to one of the local medical centers (not his GP), and he got Pfizer #1. It was a fairly small room — like a conference room for 40 — but everyone was physically distanced and we sat around and chatted. We sat for an extra thirty minutes as he is allergic to bee sting, but there were no problems and he had no reactions other than a sore arm. Meanwhile, the health system kept emailing us to get him to come in, as did two other health networks where he’d seen providers over the years. This was less aggravating on the level of continued reminders that there was no way to turn off than on the level of the fact that the health systems missed a lot of people. Obscura actually had to call in and intervene after her mom’s provider scheduled her 80-year-old mom for mid-April. Last week dad had Pfizer #2; again no reaction. We got a “bill” for the first vaccine: $116.00 covered by Medicare (of which $48 for administering the vaccine).

 

It was at that county’s fairgrounds / expo center.

This week Monday, my employer emailed me to ask me if I wanted an appointment. This is a little weird — the state did open up vaccinations for educators a week earlier, but it was supposed to be limited to front-facing workers and I haven’t seen a student F2F in a year. Other people I know who work there full time but are not teachers did not get the invitation. This is a low-level structural ethical dilemma. However, they put me on the list (maybe because the last time they saw me, I was front-facing) and the Servetuses have some big stuff coming up, so it didn’t make sense to delay and I made the 50 mile drive. This was parallel to the kind of setting where dad was supposed to get his vax: county public health / immunization site.

Extremely well organized: I walked in, identified myself, filled out a form, and after a conversation about bee sting allergies, walked into an area with about twenty cubicles. A woman with a flag waved me into one of them, I sat down, was asked which arm I preferred, and got the shot. I got up and walked into the waiting area where I had to spend an extra thirty minutes due to bee sting allergies. I spent all of the time thinking about how grateful and relieved I am. I got an appointment for the final shot in four weeks (I got Moderna). I was told “no bill” as my employer was covering it (they did not ask for my insurance information).

I’m not sure what the flag has to do with it.

On the way out they gave me a sticker and a Tootsie roll from an industrial size container. Wry smile as childhood vaccinations were usually accompanied by a piece of candy or some kind of sweet.

Then I had to drive back. By the time I made it home, I had a low grade fever and some kind of wooziness (although there are other things I could attribute both of those things to, including the fact that I was wildly overdressed for what turned out to be mild weather, my huge sense of relief, and menstruation). I went to bed early last night as I could not concentrate. This morning I’m feeling pretty normal, except that my left deltoid hurts like hell (think: can’t move my left arm above my shoulder without severe pain).

~ by Servetus on March 11, 2021.

37 Responses to “The last mile (part three of only three, I hope)”

  1. Good to know that the Servetus household has now had the first shot. I‘m sure it‘s a relief for you – both for yourself and your dad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • it really is. I’m still feeling relieved and imagine it will go on for a while. Hope you can get yours soon.

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  2. So glad you’ve both had your shots. I’ve had my first one but don’t get my second until May, as they made the decision in the UK to extend the time in between the two doses so they can give more people the first dose quickly. Hope your arm recovers soon! Mine was tender for about 4 days but never as painful as yours (I had the Pfizer shot).

    Liked by 1 person

    • delay: I remember when they announced that. Understandable. I hope it all works out best for everyone involved. This situation with variants is really worrying and I can completely understand why they’d try to get as many people a first dose before the variants spread too much.

      Dad’s arm (also Pfizer) was also sore but nothing like mine. I’m really glad I had them do my left. Hopefully it abates during the day. I have never had any reaction to a vaccine.

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    • I had the Oxford one but my husband got the Pfizer one, he had more reactions than me.

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      • I’m glad you both got one. Maybe Oxford / AZ was really the way to go — we didn’t have that choice here unfortunately. (Well, from what I’ve seen, they don’t give you a choice other than not to have one if you don’t want the one they have available).

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  3. Good news! Hope soreness subsides soon, fingers x Dad got Pfizered in mid Jan, although just in the country for less than 2 months, paperwork on that has also come through last week, phewyee, he’s all NHSed now thank all the lovely and amazing NHS people. Funny enough i got sent a link to book by GP some 10 days ago, got Pfizered same place as dad, local town hall. Extremly efficient and expedited, in and out in 20 mins tops, including the 15 mins waiting time. Popped into next door baker for some fresh treats and then back to quarantine it was. I did left arm too, forgetting i tend to sleep that side and was sore in the night and a red patch on arm round the spot which is slowly fading, but other than that so far so good. Now waiting for round 2 which with Pfizer supposed to be more likely to have some cold like effects. I’ll take all that for the protection. They have been doing clinical studies in vaccinated peeps and over 70s get at least 60% protection even from 1st dose alone so all is good. Not going anywhere, not even shops these days so waiting time is almost irrelevant. But the feeling of relief is immense together with some pressure lifting of stress of what would happen if i got sick. But, we need to keep at it with the protection as the scientific advisers have in their straight talk style advised ‘don’t wreck it now, we’re close’ and we will face a resurgence, we just don’t know when , if now or late summer when the virus will find those not yet vaccinated or not effectively protected by it, so the end is closer but it will still take a while.
    No bills here, not even for tests, but feeling eternally grateful to all the volunteers, the NHS staff (one of my neighbours is doing extra shifts in vaccination centers), all emergency workers, etc. Feeling no gratitude towards the shambolic government whatsoever. Al they did was pay for it, but we’re a rich country so they get no credit. Everything else is down to NHS organising it, people volunteering in thousands and for no money, the army stepping in with the logistics of delivery. Thankfully the gvmt had little to do with it, or else it would have either cost billions or been shambolic, or both.

    So i am very very grateful to the NHS and everyone working so hard and still very worried about the groups not taking up the vaccine, including social care staff, especially in London where we have such a variety of people from all backgrounds. This is left for local authorities to try and address and they won’t be getting many funds from this gmvt for that so it is a worry 😦 The media has been doing loads to communicate but i fear mainstream media does not reach these communities and people. Data also shows greater scepticism in deprived communities, which have been gravely affected. Scientists have warned of likely 30k additional deaths we will likely face until this is really over.

    Sorry for the brain dumb, side effect of lockdown and no human contact an lack of chat around tea mugs in office kitchen.. And of partially feeling guilty of having had the vaccine when other people so much more at risk haven’t..

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad the UK managed to assimilate your dad both residentially and health-wise — one hears such worrying things.

      I had really wanted Pfizer but when I was offered Moderna I didn’t hesitate (my political issue was that the US gov’t was involved in Moderna development and my trust for the CDC has fallen significantly in the last year, whereas I feel like the German health authorities were not politically compromised). I did not want J&J because i felt like essentially the providers were saying, “well, with this we can guarantee that you won’t get very sick” and I think maybe that’s okay for a healthy person in her twenties but given circumstances, I need to try to avoid any infection at all. But it seems like most of the teachers around here are going for J&J. We do not have access to AZ as far as I know. We will almost certainly have a resurgence here, given how many people are actively choosing not to get vaccinated. I’ve even heard stories that clinics in Idaho have closed for lack of interest.

      I heard a radio program driving back from the shot (how convenient) that talked about the ethics of being vaccinated early, i.e., not actively taking away someone else’s place in line but taking an offered appointment when you know there are still people out there who need it worse than you. That professor’s conclusion was that the problem is so structural that you’re not acting badly to do this, although it’s not a great choice, either.

      https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/takeaway/segments/how-systemic-problems-lead-vaccine-shaming-and-envy

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  4. Glad your dad completed his shots and you started yours. I’m still waiting.

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    • I feel like you’re enough older than me that you should have been on someone’s priority list by now. [frustrated on your behalf].

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  5. That’s great about your dad’s vaccinations and that you’ve started yours, not to great about the sore arm, I hope it feels better soon – Perhaps Thorin will kiss it better. Agree absolutely with Herba’s comments. We are lucky in the UK that the jabs are free. Does everyone have to pay for them in the USA?

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    • It’s almost back to normal today, thanks for the good wishes. I probably could have taken some acetaminophen but then I thought, how will you know if something is really wrong if you medicate minor issues away?

      I have heard various reports from different parts of the US. Like I mentioned with dad, we were “billed” (i.e., we were told it cost $116 and Medicare — public health insurance for people over 65 — covered the entire cost. I won’t get into the weeds about whether it’s Medicare Part A or Part B that’s paying as I haven’t heard of anyone over 65 paying out of pocket, although some people decline Medicare Part B for various reasons, or don’t quality if they have never paid into Social Security). The official line is that the vaccine is free. However, part of dad’s “bill” included a charge for the vaccine. I also know some people who have gotten actual bills for out-of-pocket expenses for administering the vaccine: usually $16 or so. I’m also assuming (although I don’t know this for sure) that anyone on Medicaid (public health insurance for very poor people) probably has their costs covered completely as well, especially insofar as people in that category typically get all their normal vaccinations for free.

      So the answer to your question is, as usual in the US, somebody’s always paying but it’s not typically clear in advance who it is: government, employer, public health plan, private insurer.

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      • Ah, I see. Well I’m glad that it is sort of free for most people. I suppose we pay for it too, over here, with National Insurance.

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        • The US system is nuts. Dad ended up in the emergency room last night (out of control blood thinner after dental work) and I have to say knowing that the cost would be covered 100% by Medicare Part A made the decision to go easy, so we went earlier than we might have if I thought we were paying out of pocket, even for part of it.

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  6. Good for both of you!

    Got mine 2 weeks ago (AZ), as I work at a school, but on distance learning at the moment for at least a month now. Had really bad night and dizzy the next day, sore left arm for 4 days (until I could sleep on that side again). Heard it means my immune system is strong, if the side effects are bad. Next jab end of April.

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  7. Glad to hear the good news for both of you.

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  8. I’m really glad you both got your vaccinations!

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  9. This is excellent news that your dad and you as well got the shot! My mother had the Pfizer but no reactions either, other than a stiff arm after her first shot a few weeks ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great news about your mom and no reactions. Word of mouth around here is that Pfizer has fewer side effects than Moderna. Hope you guys are able to get in line soon.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. This is really good news, congratulations!

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  11. Glad you and your dad could be the vaccine. What a uphill battle. I had my first shot on March 5th (Pfizer) from the school. Our local Native American tribe supplied our vaccine with the county health dept. helping out. We had to go the the high school gym where they group us in groups of 12 from our schools (I am in 2 buildings but the one where I have my desk and work the most from). Paperwork was filled out just made sure all was ready for the nurse. Only a couple minute wait, then talked to the RN about my list of allergies, was good to go but came armed with Benadryl and my EpiPen just in case. My only things I had was a sore arm but was told by the RN to take a pain killer as soon as possible which I did and a little fatigue which could have been the vaccine or that I had less sleep that week. My aunt and uncle had Moderna said neither one had any side affects. My coworkers had a range of side affects. No sure if the tribe or the school is paying for ours. We didn’t need a medical insurance card or even ID even though we where told at first we did. Once the health official talked to the district administrator it was a couple days and we got ours. It was on out virtual school day we have every week. My husband could have gotten one before me but declined because he though others needed it more than him. His choice. I work with children ages 3 – 11 and thought it was for the best as I seen many students each week.

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    • I saw something about that tribal program on the news and I’m glad you (and your aunt and uncle) got your shots with no allergic reactions.

      Given how worried people are about kids being out of school I would have thought they would have prioritized teachers and school staff higher than they did, but at least they are prioritized now.

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      • Yes with the school system. Only our middle and high school have had a 2 weeks virtual that was over Thanksgiving week so really 3 weeks. They have keep the primary and intermediate open with every Friday a virtual day for students and staff comes in to work. We have been lucky that we have had low cases with staff and students even with the extra protocols we now have. None of our staff was forced to take the vaccine but I am pretty sure most have. We had a sign up in January and was told we would have the first one by the end of January which was push back to March for us. Also I saw most teachers will be getting the Johnson and Johnson one dose where we got the Pfizer.

        The big thing I have seen being close to another county is how getting the vaccine is being administered. It seems each county has there own way of doing it.

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        • I think they can’t make the vaccine a requirement of work until it’s actually authorized by the FDA (which usually takes several years). Right now it just has emergency authorization. I agree the counties have been really different. Our county has had a series of mixups, whereas the county where I work seems to have been very organized and together about it.

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  12. From my husband has seen from his union is yes they can make a person get the vaccine. They can’t fire a person but they can make it where you can’t be around your co-workers. I thought that was pretty far out but they have a letter from one of the lawyers for the union. His place is not making anyone but some other departments must be. I also saw it some where else the same thing. They are saying because it is a health emergency and not taking the vaccine puts others at risk. There is only a couple reasons why a person could opt out. I really doubted this at first but seems like it could happen. I think that most places will not mandate the vaccine at this time or maybe ever, the flu shot is not as an example.

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  13. I’m happy to hear that you both got your jabs. It must be such a relief.
    We’ve been divided into groups here in Denmark. My mother (82) is waiting for her first vaccination, and I’m suffering from a chronic disease and so it should be my turn soon too. I hope April.
    As you may have heard we are short on supply, and the AZ is put on hold because of suspicions that it may contribute to blood clots. I truly hope I won’t get offered that one – it’s been my inclination all along – and I’ve read that a lot of people plan to refuse the offer if AZ is what they’re getting.
    Fortunately, my mother won’t get it, because of her age. My husband and children will be offered vaccines during the summer based on their ages, i.e. oldest is first in line.

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  14. Glad to hear that you were both able to get it, after all the mix-up earlier. In my province in Canada, they have pretty much only vaccinated people living/working in care homes and front line medical workers. They’ve started on the over 90’s this week. They’ve decided that the best public health benefit is to administer the first shot across the board, and then do the second shot in up to 4 months. Before that decision, my first shot would be in June, but maybe it will be accelerated with that decision. In any case, I try not to worry, keep my expectations low, and mask and social distance when I go to the store or the coffee shop. I go to the office only on weekends when no one else is there. And I still haven’t seen my older son since October. One day, things will hopefully be back to whatever the new normal will be.

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  15. I had my first shot of the Astra Zeneca in february — and should have my 2nd in april. No fever, no other signs.
    But as the Astra Zeneca vaccine is limitated here in France, I don’t even know if I could get the 2nd shot ( stupid decisions again in France, again and again ).

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    • Wow — that’s really bizarre. I know that in England they decided they wanted to get everyone the first one and then delayed the second, but they gave those people actual date, as far as I know. France seems to be really struggling.

      Like

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