In my last post, I described the “fun” I had getting my first COVID vaccine. This time I’ll talk about the second shot, which I just received just last week. Fortunately for me, this will be a much less exciting post. By the way, I should have mentioned this in my last post, but for those keeping score at home, I got the Moderna vaccine. As I mentioned, there was some HMO I had never heard of running the vaccine center for my first shot. In the email I got from them confirming my appointment, they advised me that they would automatically schedule me for the second dose when I was due. They would notify me by email when my second appointment was, and they strongly suggested that I keep that appointment, although they said there would be an option to reschedule if absolutely necessary. They didn’t give me a time frame for notifying me but I sort of assumed I would hear from them fairly soon after getting the first shot. Ha! For nearly a month, I hadn’t heard back from them, not one word. According to my vaccine card, I was due for the second vaccine on March 1, exactly four weeks after I got the first one. But February was about to end and I hadn’t heard a peep out of them. There was no obvious way to contact them as far as I could tell. I was thinking if nothing else, I would have to battle my way through the damn county website I had gotten the first appointment on and try to get scheduled that way. But I dreaded that. Fortunately, I was saved from that horror by a text I received from Kaiser, my own HMO, in late February. It said it was time for me to get my COVID vaccine, I was finally eligible! Yeah, they were now able to service youngsters like me. They lowered the age just enough to allow me to get shot. That was great, but I had concerns that the fact that I was looking for the second shot, and the fact that the vaccine had to be Moderna might be problematic. I mean, what if Kaiser was only distributing the Pfizer vaccine? They gave me a website and I had to do an “e-visit” which basically just had me answer questions about whether or not I had already gotten the first shot and which one it was. It was clear the software was properly designed to handle folks like me who had gone out-of-network for the first shot. I can’t say for sure, but it also looked like they could handle either vaccine, at least based on the questions I was asked. The program determined that I could get the second dose as soon as the week of 3/1 and gave me one of six sites I could make an appointment at, all of them reasonably close to where I live. Two of them were in the same facility I go to for 95% of my medical care, so that was cool. One of the sites was ridiculously close to me, even closer than the place I usually go. I had no idea there was a Kaiser facility that close to me. It turned out that location had the earliest open appointments, so I grabbed it, not sure where I would be going. But it was for March 3, clearly within the window of when I needed to get the second dose. Cool. The appointment clearly said “Moderna—second dose” so it seemed like I was all set. Although close to me, I was unfamiliar with the specific neighborhood of the address so the week before my appointment I drove over there to see. It was easy to get to and seemed like a relatively new Kaiser facility, but rather small. Obviously, this location didn’t off any specialty services, but all I needed was a damn shot. On the Saturday before the appointment, I finally heard from the HMO that had given me the first shot! I had an appointment scheduled for the coming Tuesday at 1:40pm (which was the time of my appointment for the first shot). I was glad in the end they had not forgotten about me but geez, how about a little notice? Just three days before the appointment they tell me? SMH. I cancelled that appointment but for backup, I rescheduled it for after I was to get the Kaiser shot. I figured that if something—anything—went wrong with the Kaiser shot, I wanted to be covered to get that second vaccine that week. I booked it for the day after my Kaiser shot, knowing I would cancel it if everything went smoothly with Kaiser. I did consider that round two at the same location as my first shot might be less of a hassle. I mean, a month later, the COVID rate had gone down considerably and there would likely be a lot fewer cars online to get tested. And there might be fewer people getting the vaccine too. News reports said that shipping delays of the vaccine due to bad weather across the country meant that the huge locations like the one I first went to had to cancel any first shot appointments. Maybe I’d go over there and see only a handful of cars backed up, and it wouldn’t be nearly as bad as last time. But no, I rescheduled so I would still have that as a safety option but I wanted to get the second shot inside, not in my car, if at all possible. On the day of the appointment, I got over there about 40 minutes early and was delighted to see that there was plenty of parking and no line to get in. As soon as I walked in, they handed me a brief form to fill out which was mostly questions that I had already answered online. When I was done, I went over to register, and some guy plugged me into the computer, confirmed I was in the right place, put some sticker on my form and sent me down the hall to get my shot. The facility might eventually be medical offices, but for the time being it was set up almost like a DMV—only efficiently run. Or maybe it looked like the college hall where I voted last year. As I marched toward the office to go to, I passed a whole bunch of people sitting in small office-type chairs. I guess there were about 30 chairs and about 20 or so people in them. But I was told to head straight for a certain office, and when entered there were four desks where nurses were giving folks injections, a bunch of chairs for folks waiting to get shot. But there was just one person ahead of me. I didn’t have to wait more than a minute to get called. The nurse had to fill out a bunch of paperwork, including on my vaccine card, and stuck the needle into me. And I was vaccinated.All those chairs and people that I had passed on my way in were the folks that had already had the shot, and they were just waiting 15 minutes to see if they had any immediate bad reactions. So I joined them for 15 minutes, felt fine, and was dismissed. I got back to my car about 10 minutes before my actual appointment time! This experience couldn’t have been more different that the first shot. What an improvement! As soon as I got home, I went online to cancel the appointment with the other HMO. Side-effects, you ask? Well I did have a pretty bad headache that evening, and also when I woke the next morning. But feeling otherwise fine, I ran some errands in the morning and then took a nap after lunch. When I woke up from the nap, I was feeling lousy, like I might have a fever. I did! It was 100.1°. I was tired but otherwise no other symptoms. The fever was gone by the time I went to bed and by the next morning I was pretty much 100%. I sure hope this is the last time I have to blog about COVID. Please.
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