It’s been a heck of a year, hasn’t it?
On top of everything else, WP has now forced me into the block editor. I hate it. I absolutely hate it! But like all other mandated changes, I’ll just have to learn to live with it. If I stop posting completely, you’ll all know why. (Can anyone tell me how to add Categories and Tags to a post? I can’t figure that out.)
Moving on to the real subject of this post:
How are you all doing on scheduling appointments for the COVID-19 vaccination? Having fun? Wearing out that “refresh” button?
When hubby and I first became eligible to receive the vaccine, due to our advanced age, I immediately started looking for appointments. Everything was booked. And I mean everything. We heard tales of friends and relatives who were traveling hours to another city or state to receive a vaccine. We weren’t willing to drive for hours, especially considering we’d have to do it all over again in a few weeks for the second dose.
Every day, several times a day, I would search the New York State site as well as the sites for all the local pharmacies and grocery stores in an effort to find that elusive first dose reservation for my husband. A colleague opined that some of the problem was people who were scheduling multiple appointments just to be sure they’d have one.
I began to wonder if there was some kind of black market for vaccination appointments.
I was about to give up, until one Thursday when I was off work, with no particular plans. On that day, I spent the entire morning going from one website to another. After several hours, I decided to try the CVS pharmacy site one last time – and, hallelujah!, there was an open appointment at a store only 30 minutes away. Hubby got scheduled and got his first dose, with the second dose being scheduled for 4 weeks later (just FYI – Pfizer’s doses are 21 days apart, Moderna’s are 28 days).
My problem was a little different. I am on Remicade infusions, every 6 weeks. I had heard from a relative who is also on Remicade that her doctor advised her to schedule her vaccination either two weeks before an infusion or two weeks after, to avoid any drug interaction or any reduction in the vaccine’s efficacy. Her infusions were every 8 weeks, so while scheduling was tough, she was able to make her two appointments – at a state-run site in Syracuse, two-and-a-half hours away.
Having infusions every 6 weeks made scheduling of a two-dose vaccine nearly impossible for me. No matter how I tried to figure it and no matter whether I chose Pfizer or Moderna, it seemed I would only be able to schedule the first dose within the recommended time windows. I resigned myself to having to wait for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is only one dose. But no one was offering J&J; who knew when it might become available?
Meanwhile, eligibility for the vaccines kept being expanded, so that more and more people were vying for the few appointments available. It looked like I wouldn’t be getting vaccinated any time soon.
Then, yesterday, I decided to call my own GI doctor for his opinion on how I could schedule a two-dose vaccine around my Remicade infusions. He said while two weeks before/after would be ideal, it was not necessary; he said to just try to schedule somewhere in the middle of the time period between infusions.
Considering that, I decided to take my chances, and I went online. I really didn’t want to go to a mass vaccination clinic run by the state, mostly because I was worried about parking and having to walk too far. CVS and Walgreens had no appointments available within a reasonable driving distance, I did consider scheduling an appointment at a pharmacy in Batavia, Jamestown, or Rochester – farther than I wanted to go, but do-able.
Just on a whim, I decided to try Wegmans one last time. For the last two months, Wegmans has had no available appointments anywhere. But I’m the optimistic sort.
Won’t wonders never cease? Only a few minutes before I landed on their site, they had opened up a new block of appointments – at every one of their stores in my area. I wouldn’t have to drive for hours! I wouldn’t have to go late in the afternoon during rush hour! There would be plenty of parking close to the store!
I managed to book my first dose appointment for 11:00 am today, at the store only 2 minutes from my house. For the Moderna vaccine – which would give me 4 weeks to schedule the second dose, instead of the 3 weeks required by Pfizer. Definitely do-able.
Wegmans ran things efficiently. There was a very short wait while paperwork was completed, then the shot (which was painless and over before I knew it), and I was home by 11:30 a.m. So far, there have been no side effects. No arm soreness, no headache, no dizziness. I don’t even feel particularly tired.
In 4 weeks, I get the second Moderna dose. And then I’m done, at least until such time as the CDC decides we all need booster shots.
How are the rest of you doing? If you want a vaccine, have you been able to schedule an appointment? Have you had your shots? Did everything go well? Feel free to leave comments below.
Only 2 days ’til Spring! Stay warm, safe, and healthy, everyone.
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalieStudio