Vaccine Please

My personal vaccination journey

Ally Pruente, Online Editor

Since the COVID-19 vaccine became available to Kansas residents over the age of 16, getting a shot for myself has been a main priority of mine. At first, I was skeptical. Whether that worry came from my tremendous fear of needles or my hesitancy to trust such a rushed medication, I will never know. But as I watched world leaders, and even my parents, praise the value of the science behind the vaccine I knew I had nothing to be afraid of (except maybe that needle). 

April 21, 2021, I received my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. I was lucky enough to receive my first round through my own school, and barely had to miss any class time. Here’s a timeline of my journey up until that point. 

6:30 a.m. I woke up and had an average morning. I tried to not let my fear of needles conquer my peaceful breakfast. I was ecstatic to receive a vaccine that I had been desperately wanting. I had attempted to sign up through so many programs in our county, and was grateful that I had finally been given a chance to start the vaccination process. 

8:20 a.m. As I’m sitting at my desk in room 151, the class phone makes it’s first ring. My immediate thought was, could be for me? It rings a second time as my classmate goes to answer for our teacher. “This is Susan Massy’s room,” she says while bringing the phone to her ear. This was my moment, I was really ready. After hanging up the phone, my classmate says that anyone who’s signed up for the vaccine has been requested in the main gym. I had originally thought I was one of few who decided to get the vaccine. I didn’t hear much from many of my friends and seemed to be the only one I knew who was receiving their shot through SMSD. To my surprise, one of my classmates stood up with me. She was getting the shot too. I instantly felt better not being alone. 

8:21 a.m. As we arrived in the main gym, my classmate and I realized we didn’t bring proper identification with us. We looked at each other and laughed as we turned around to go back and get our driver’s licenses. 

8:23 a.m.  Now we’re really ready. ID’s in hand, we walked up to the check in table. When I turned my head to see the vaccination stations I saw a nurse with blonde hair who looked young and about my height. She seemed really nice, and someone I could relate to. I hoped she would be my nurse. The man behind the table waved to me, and I headed his direction. He asked for my student ID number and I provided it to him, reminding myself I needed to hold it together. He asked me more clarifying questions. Then he filled out my Vaccine Report Card, and asked to clarify the information, which I did. He handed me the card and I felt like I had just conquered the world. This is what it feels like to be keeping myself and others safe. 

8:26 a.m. After receiving my card I was redirected to “the man in the maroon shirt.” I gave a pleasantry, as I always do, and then he told me to head straight to station two. As I looked over, I realized that I had been assigned to the same nurse I recognized earlier. For some reason, I felt relieved. She seemed like the nicest one, but I didn’t even know her name. I went to her station. I was so close. 

8:30 a.m. After the volunteer at our station walked me through some directions I sat in the chair. I’ve always been a nervous talker, and it’s easy to see when I get shots. I started asking the nurse a ton of questions. 

“I want to be a nurse someday, I just need to get over this fear of needles,” I told her. 

“I’m the same way, nobody really seems to enjoy shots,” she said. I giggled at her and pulled my sleeve up. She wiped my arm with a tine antibacterial wipe. I took a huge deep breath to show how nervous I was. As I closed my eyes I felt the needle going into my left arm, it didn’t hurt as much as I had anticipated. Next thing I knew, I was done. 

8:35 a.m. The nurse walked with me to the designated resting area and told me there were snacks and water I was welcome to take. We were instructed to wait for 15 minutes. I grabbed some water, but later went back for a bag of mini pretzels. I found an empty table and waited for my classmate. She showed up about two minutes later and we talked about our one in a lifetime experience. 

8:50 a.m. Now our 15 minute rest was over. We threw away our pretzel bags and water bottles. As we got up to walk to class I was so happy. Thank goodness I’m halfway done. 

Symptom-wise, I feel fine, a little bit cold and shaky, but not enough for concern. I find myself extra hungry and super excited for lunch. As my own journey to vaccination continues, I’ll post updates. Everyone’s experience is different.  I want to share mine so everyone knows they’re  not alone in the fight against COVID-19.