By Gail Bryanton, Communication Specialist
I work as a member of the COVID-19 vaccine communications team for the Saskatchewan Health Authority. My world for the past several months has been learning about vaccines, writing about vaccines, and answering questions about vaccines. I’ve typed “all vaccines are good vaccines” until the keys on my laptop have become wobbly.
Last week, with the AstraZeneca drive-thru opening to my age group in Regina, it was my chance to actually receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
I was never worried about getting the sniffles from COVID. My fear was ending up in hospital on a ventilator or worse, so when Health Canada and the World Health Organization gave AstraZeneca the thumbs up on the blood clot question, that was good enough for me.
I planned my foray to the front lines with the precision of a Five-Star General, carefully watching the wait time app to discern the behavioural patterns of my fellow vaccine seekers. I concluded the only pattern was: everyone wants their vaccines NOW. Throwing strategy to the wind, I decided that I would make my move at dawn. I awoke at 5 a.m. and began packing my supplies for the trip: coffee, a blanket, a charged phone and two laptops for battery power. Fully stocked, I reached the immunization site by 5:45 a.m. and then began my wait.
When it came time to start my car to begin my trek to the immunization building, it decided to protest ‘chug, chug, chug...’ Panic took over as I was blocking the entire roadway. I had visions of a riot breaking out, until I realized that this was Saskatchewan, and behind me was a fleet of trucks. At worst, I was sure there would soon be five or six burly men exiting their vehicles to forcibly remove my car from their path to the prized vaccines.
Once my four-wheeled friend fired up, I was able to inch forward onto the carefully planned path through the EVRAZ site. We lined-up like we were waiting for a blockbuster movie, and everyone exercised patience, occasionally getting out of their cars to stretch or walk up and down the lines.
At 8:30 a.m., the massive overhead door lifted, and people began restlessly getting out health cards and putting on masks.
As I drove toward the light, a friendly face appeared just over the threshold, and I was directed to a vaccine station. There I was helped by a professional, helpful and amazing immunizer. What? Did I just get my vaccine? I didn’t feel a thing. On my way out, I drove by waving and thanking various immunizers at their stations, feeling like the Grand Marshall of my own vaccine parade. Then outside the doors, I was approached by an attendant who was checking on people during their 15 minute wait in case an emergency should arise. Then, I was done.
Overall, it felt empowering to receive my vaccine. I was making my world a little bit safer for my family and my community, so please bear with me as I say it one more time:
All vaccines are good vaccines, so don’t hesitate, vaccinate.
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