I posted previously some of the reasoning behind our decision to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Here's how it played out.
Initially I was not impressed by the system for administering the vaccines. Porter spent a week or so on the computer (and once on the phone) trying to get an appointment, only to run into all sorts of website problems and be locked out until all available appointments were gone. Again and again. He had signed up with at least three venues for notification of available vaccine. Finally, Orange County came through.
The website was definitely a problem, and from what I heard the websites of the other vaccine providers were no better. (And still aren't.) After navigating some glitches and laboriously entering pages of personal data, we finally came to a page where we could choose a (supposedly) available date and time. At that point the system would fail. Most times, fortunately, it would send us back to the "pick a time" screen to try again. But sometimes it would crash more seriously, and send us further back. More than once Porter had to re-enter all the personal data. I didn't get ejected that far; most of the time it was just a matter of click-fail, click-fail, click-fail ... for 40 minutes. Then suddenly, Porter's machine came back with "appointment confirmed"! Five minutes or so later, so did mine. It felt like winning the lottery! (Not that either of us has ever experienced winning the lottery. But we can imagine.)
Porter and I have each been paid to make computer systems work, so I will allow myself I little frustration at the poor IT work done these days. I blame decades of relentless cost-cutting, lowest-bid contracts, and consequent poor morale—though I admit prejudice in the matter, having lived through it ourselves. In any case, the website design left much to be desired—a situation which, incidentally, we have found at several other governmental websites, including those of the U. S. Mint and the Affordable Care Act.
We know much less about the medical and logistical side of administering the vaccines themselves, but from a personal point of view, we were much impressed.
For the first dose of the vaccine, we drove down to the Orange County Convention Center, where the bottom floor of a parking garage was set up for very efficient work. We never had to leave our car. It helps that the OCCC was designed to handle crowds, and the wait was not too long as we wended our way toward the entrance. We had filled out most of the paperwork online, and had just a few brief medical questions and maybe a signature or two to deal with at this point. The biggest surprise was discovering that we were getting the Pfizer vaccine, since the online paperwork had specified Moderna. We didn't care which we got as long as the second dose was the same brand.
Bar codes kept track of who we were and what we were getting. The one question that arose was quickly answered by a doctor who was zooming from car to car, as needed, on a skateboard! After a quick jab we were shunted to an outside parking lot for 15 minutes of waiting to be sure we didn't pass out, go into shock, or grow horns. One more scan of our bar codes and we were off home. A smooth-as-silk process, expertly handled. For us, the whole affair took about two hours, the majority of which was travel time.
Four weeks later, we reprised the event. The lines of cars and the vaccination process were faster, but the traffic getting to the Convention Center was worse, so elapsed time remained about the same. Nothing to complain about.
"What about the after effects?" you ask. For the first vaccine, nothing at all but a slight soreness at the vaccination site, just as with any shot. For the second, it appeared to be the same until almost exactly 72 hours later, when Porter developed mild flu-like symptoms: muscle aches, tiredness, slight headache, and feeling as if he might be getting a fever (though we didn't confirm that). They lasted about six hours, after which he was fine.
Did I have that reaction, too? We'll never know. You see, that was the day I had chosen to have a troublesome tooth extracted, and when Porter started showing symptoms I was so doped up on fever-reducing and pain-killing medications (one extra-strength Tylenol and three Advil every six hours, as needed) that anything would have been completely masked. Vaccine reactions were far from my thoughts at that time.
Contrary to the way some folks read my previous post, I am most definitely not in favor of mandatory vaccinations. :) Voluntary vaccination is a different matter, however, and we are happy to have this under our belts. Here's a shout-out to all those who made the process go so smoothly. (But can you look into getting the website fixed, please?)
Note to those urging everyone to get vaccinated: If you don't soon ease up on the restrictions placed on those who have chosen to be vaccinated, you'll be giving a huge negative incentive to those who have not.