First of all, I’m more than delighted to have been given the opportunity to get a COVID-19 vaccine. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. A lot of us have been.
If you don’t already know, I work for a handful of AMAZING vaccine education organizations and we all have been SO busy with all that’s come with COVID-19 and the vaccine over the past year. I’ve barely had time to keep up with my personal vaccine education blog and social media––something that I enjoy doing very much.
Since just the talk of the new vaccines, I’ve been involved with educating the public and healthcare workers through my writing and videos in my current positions. As a vaccine scientist, I’ve followed the science closely. We learned about mRNA vaccines in graduate school, and I’m just fascinated with the fact that we have them available to us RIGHT NOW. Back then it was just an experimental thing. Now it’s real, and that’s so, so cool.
When the Pizer-BioNTech vaccine went for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) back in December, I watched CDC’s ACIP meeting, and my colleagues and I waited into the night for the word that the vaccine was authorized to be used in the U.S. It was a victory and a new beginning. We cheered, we cried, and we wrote about it.
We cheered when Moderna and Janssen (J&J) got EUA in the U.S., and we will wait and watch for what comes next.
Every time something came out, we wrote about it. Every time there was a big event, a new vaccine authorized, we wrote about it. We wrote into the night to put out the information bright and early in the morning. We still do.
Every little thing is a big thing right now when it comes to these vaccines and calming the pandemic that’s still running wild on this world. Everything is new and scary and interesting.
It’s so unbelievable, all that’s been done over the last year and how far vaccine science has come. I also hope we never have to go through such a crisis and need a vaccine so quickly ever again.
That’s why this feels so monumental.
This vaccine has been at the center of my life for so long now. It’s what I do and think about every day.
Because it’s such a part of my life, I had built up the event of getting the vaccine so much that it had become TOO MUCH. And because of that, it came down on me really hard today.
In my head it was going to be us holding hands, smiling, pictures of shots going into arms. I booked the appointment with my boyfriend, but he got herded ahead in line and we went through separately (not his fault). I sat in the car. The shot took 20 seconds through my open window. No picture. No fireworks…where were the fireworks? This, in my mind, was a firework event.
Then, it was over. And I had thought it would be this big thing because it is SUCH A BIG THING to me.
And I cried. For a long time. And I don’t know why.
Maybe I’m relieved. Maybe this is all just a lot. Maybe I’m just really, really tired.
This isn’t a finale for me, not by a longshot. First of all, I need a second dose. Second of all, I’m going to be a part of this world…forever. I’m always going to be involved in vaccine education. It is SO IMPORTANT, especially right now. And not only do we have the pandemic to worry about, but the rates of childhood vaccinations have fallen so much that we’re worried we are going to be seeing many vaccine-preventable outbreaks in the U.S. in the near future. NOT GOOD.
I’m not going to go cry now, but I am going to go enjoy this pain in my arm as a reminder that I’m lucky to live in a place where I have access to this life-saving technology.
GO get your shot, guys. You don’t know how lucky you are.
*Photo: We DID get a photo! That’s Tommy and I several hours later wearing our Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) “I Got My COVID-19 Vaccine” stickers! We have buttons, too! Check them out at https://www.immunize.org/shop/covid19-buttons-stickers.asp