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The Second Dose of the Covid Vaccine

The day had finally arrived! It was time for my family to get our second Covid-19 vaccination shots. We received our first dose at the beginning of the month, and it was finally three weeks later. Our appointment was in the evening, so now only a number of hours were between us and getting the second dose. For those who don’t know, we received the Pfizer vaccination that requires three weeks between the two shots. A Moderna shot is also available for which the requisite period between shots is four weeks. For now, there isn’t really a choice which vaccine you get.

Anyway, I woke up the morning of February 22nd, looked out the window, and was relieved to see no snow outside. It was early in the morning, and the forecast for the day did call for some snow, but also for it to switch to rain as the day progressed. The next time I looked out, the snow had started. It was falling fast. I heard that the weather was terrible that morning with near white out conditions in certain places on U.S. Highway 15.

Fortunately, as the day went on the snow stopped. Though the weather in the morning was miserable, by later in the day, the roads were clear. Mom needed to go to the grocery store, and while she was there, bought a container of delicious-looking large sugar cakes to eat over the next several days as a celebration for having the vaccinations complete.

The trip to Waynesboro Hospital for the shot was smooth this time. Instead of going out to Interstate 81, going south to Green Castle, and heading west on PA 16 into Waynesboro, we went directly on route 997.

At the hospital where they were giving the shots, I noticed a few differences from the first time. The sidewalks were 100% clear this time, making it easier to enter the building. The last time they became covered with snow immediately after being shoveled off. Inside, the information sheets about the vaccine were on a pile for patients to take. They were not handed out to the vaccination patients like they were last time. There was a short wait in the hallway outside the room, but nothing too long.

Like last time, we didn’t have to wait until our appointment times, even though we were there early. Our appointment was for 7:50 PM and we arrived at 7:15 PM. We were called back to a chair once they had space available. They asked to see the card from last time that showed which vaccine was going to be administered (dose 1 or dose 2). The needle didn’t hurt going in, similarly to before. A normal “Band-aid” was put over the injection spot instead of a circular bandage with a clear center like last time. As before, we were sent to a waiting area to wait fifteen minutes after the shot. Everyone was asked a few basic questions that staff recorded the answers to in their computer system.

While we were waiting, we discovered that another person who came to get vaccinated lived in Arendtsville, which is a small town a mile west of us. He had also chosen to go a little bit farther away to be administered the vaccine as soon as possible. As I see it, traveling a little farther is worthwhile if it allows you to get an earlier appointment to receive your vaccination. Appointments seem to be in short supply in Pennsylvania, and a bird in the hand is worth three in the field. We were lucky.

The trip back home, like the trip over was mostly smooth. There was no snow, and we were able to go back the faster away. It was pointed out how we left the facility before our actual appointment times should have been. This was preferable, as my dad wasn’t a big fan of driving back late at night. Around the Cashtown area, there was a small patch of heavy fog that caused my dad to miss his turn—twice. The first time was the short cut (Short Cut Rd), and the second time was the road that actually went into Arendtsville itself. Dad turned around in a store parking lot and drove back to the road we needed.

The only other major thing that I needed to find out was what the reaction to the shot would be, if any. The second shot can produce a reaction in many people. The reaction can be anything from a sore arm, to tiredness, and flu like symptoms. As bad as reactions may be, any are better than getting Covid-19. Some people also may be lucky, and have no side effects. An important point to note is that the person will be protected regardless of whether or not they have side effects.

It took a little time for it to hit me that we were fully vaccinated. All we need to do now is wait fourteen more days (two weeks) for it to be fully effective. A caveat, though fully vaccinated people are fully protected fourteen days after their final jab (the vaccine lingo for shot), people should still wear a mask and practice social distancing until told otherwise. This helps keep the unvaccinated people safe. Once it finally hit me that we were fully vaccinated, I was excited! Full immunity for us will be on March 8th.

After returning home, we each enjoyed eating a sugar cake, and I finished up a few “odds-and-ends” that needed to be done in the case that I wouldn’t feel well the next day. I wanted to be prepared.

As it turned out, I was correct in my thinking. Of the three of us, I had the most severe side effects. I felt achy, was tired, and had a bad headache. I was in bed both morning and afternoon. I finally made myself get out of bed, and stay up during the evening hours. I still didn’t feel well, but I wanted to try to do some things. I also didn’t want to be sleeping all day, as it could affect my ability to sleep at night. I still had the problem anyway, but I’m sure I was better off than I would have been if I would have lain in bed all evening as well.

My parents had fewer side effects. My mom’s arm was a bit itchy and very sore at the injection site this time, but only if it was touched or bumped. My dad was more tired than normal. He had an appointment scheduled for later that day, and was still able to attend it in spite of having the shot the day before. In my case, I had avoided scheduling any appointments for that day, and had planned on using it as a recovery day. It’s a good thing I did.

I also want to mention the importance of the vaccination record card. A person will receive a card after their first appointment, and are required to bring it back with them for their second appointment. Now, make sure you keep your card in a safe place. This is your record that you were administered your vaccine. Though I’m no expert, I expect these cards will be very useful for months to come when it comes to travel, and probably many other ventures. So please keep them safe, and know where they are. A lost card could be a disaster.

So as a recap, getting our second jabs went a lot smoother than the first time around. It snowed both days we got shots. The first time eight inches; this time three inches in the morning which melted by afternoon (go, figure!) I also want to take time to mention that a third vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson was approved (it has been already released in two states), which hopefully will make it easier to get vaccination appointments. According to my cousin who is a doctor at Johns Hopkins, though this new vaccine may not be as effective in some ways, it is highly effective in the most important areas. So, if you are eligible, get whatever Covid-19 vaccination you can get an appointment for. They all will do a good job! As more and more people become vaccinated, we will conquer Covid-19, and move back into a normal environment. So please continue to be careful (we’re getting there), and get your vaccination whenever you are able.

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