Like many others, I have been dreaming about the day I would receive the COVID-19 vaccine since last March when I first began isolation. But, like most teenagers, I resigned to the fact that I would most likely receive the vaccine sometime in late spring or early summer. However, with a mix of luck and the help of my job in the healthcare industry, a spot opened up for me on March 8 to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This is what my experience getting the vaccine was like.
I started a new job at a nursing home near my house in January. The workers there had already been vaccinated for the most part. My aunt, a teacher who had been searching for where she could get the vaccine, sent me a link to the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector in mid-February. I filled out the survey and forgot about it pretty soon thereafter, fairly certain that my time to get vaccinated would be in a few months at least. To my surprise, exactly two weeks later I received an email from the Minnesota Department of Health stating I had been selected to receive the vaccine. I was over the moon and scheduled an appointment as soon as I could, calling my sister and parents to let them know the good news.
A few days later, the date of my appointment finally came. I double and triple-checked that I had my insurance card, ID, and a printed copy of my appointment confirmation. I pulled up to the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, now a vaccination site thanks to a partnership between the State of Minnesota and the Minnesota Vikings. The process itself couldn’t have been more than 25 minutes. Arrows and signs led me to a door where I was asked for a picture of my appointment confirmation and given a surgical mask to put on before entering the building.
The staff were all helpful and quick. There was almost no wait time. Both the women checking me in remarked on how I just barely made the cut, having turned 18 just two months ago. The woman who administered my shot was friendly but to the point. She had her routine and script down to the T. She told me to take two Advil when I got home and to ice my arm that night. With a quick pinch and a Band-Aid, the shot I had been anxiously anticipating for one year, finally came.
As I sat during the 15 minute waiting period after my shot, I looked around at the other people getting vaccinated. The majority were older folks. For a moment I reflected on how lucky I was to be getting the vaccine as an 18-year-old with no underlying health conditions. I know that my opportunity to get vaccinated is somewhat controversial since there are many at-risk people going through a lot of trouble trying to get their own dosage. At the end of the day, I chose to get vaccinated because it will bring my community one step closer to herd immunity and decrease the chance of any of the at-risk people I work with getting the virus. I am grateful to have had the chance to receive the vaccine, and I will continue to take precautions around the virus.
On my drive home I played a playlist of my favorite songs, a smile plastered to my face. After a year devoid of hugs from grandparents, concerts, parties, school dances, and traveling, finally receiving the vaccine brought a wave of emotion over me. While things are far from back to normal, I feel like I’m one step closer to whatever normal life will look like in the future, and I’m glad to be putting this chapter of life behind me.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccinations in the state of Minnesota click here.