Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 disease is a requirement I insist on before traveling of airplanes again. Its also just a good idea for staying healthy, period. Today, I was fortunate to receive the second and final dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. The whole experience from getting the appointment to the jabs in the arm was surprisingly easy, fast and, believe it or not, fun.
Getting An Appointment
In mid January after North Carolina changed the eligibility requirement for getting vaccinated to anyone over 65, I registered online for a vaccination through the county health department. There was no availability through early March, the end of the schedule at that time. On one call to the health department, they told me that Atrium Health, a local system of doctors, clinics and hospitals, was also giving vaccinations to their customers. I got through to Atrium the same day and was scheduled for a first dose three days later and the second dose 21 days after that.
Getting The Second Dose
Today, February 14, 2021, I received the second dose at the Atrium Health vaccination location at Charlotte Motor Speedway (the NASCAR track) in Concord, NC. It is about a 30-minute drive from my house. Read about the amazingly fun first dose at the same location here.
As requested when I made the appointments, I arrived at the speedway precisely at my 10:50 appointment time. I received a text message reminder three days prior that said “bring your insurance card.” I assumed that meant the Vaccine Card I received after the first dose. I don’t have insurance through Atrium.
The process was the same as last time. The only difference was weather. January 24 was a nice day with lots of sun. Today, it rained all day. But the process was just as fast and efficient. And I got to take another lap around Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The only difference was this time I had to get out of the car and take off my shirt because I couldn’t roll my sleeve up far enough for the shot. The total time was again 30 minutes from checking in outside the track to leaving after the standard 15-minute wait to see if there was a reaction.
I will add a couple of photos from today if I can get my phone to send them. The photos below are from January 24.
This site administers about 5,000 vaccinations per day according to the Atrium rep I spoke to. It looks like it can handle more than that.
I also asked if there had been any immediate reactions or side effect. Potential side effects include chills, headache, muscle or joint pain, tiredness, low fever, and diarrhea. The rep said there were occasionally instances where someone complained of nausea or pain but nothing that required intensive medical attention.
Getting the shot was practically painless. After the first shot, I experienced no side effects. This time I did feel tired when I got home. I ate lunch and then ended up taking a nap for about three hours. There is no other symptom currently.
Getting vaccinated isn’t a “get out of Covid jail free” card. The literature provided states that the vaccine does not provide maximum immunity until one to two week after the second shot.
The Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine is 95% effective. The New York Times reports that means only a 5% chance of getting a mild flu-like case of Covid and an almost zero chance of hospitalization. Of the 32,000 people who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine in the research trials, only one contracted a case of Covid severe enough to require hospitalization. The AstraZeneca vaccine might be even better at preventing hospitalizations.
So, it is necessary to continue wearing a mask, washing hands, and social distancing. That protects me and those who are vaccinated and people they interact with. Scientists think that while being vaccinated cannot prevent all infections by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid, they seem confident that people who are vaccinated cannot infect others. So far, that hypothesis remains unproved.
The major Covid threat I see is this virus’s tendency to mutate. Current vaccines seem to be effective against the new variants; however, that could change as new variants emerge. There is race against time to reach herd immunity before a mutation figures out how to evade our vaccines.
I’m glad to hear that some followers are getting scheduled for vaccinations or are attempting to do so. For those who don’t want a vaccine, I won’t try to convince you to get one. But the more people who get vaccinated, the less guilty I’ll feel about getting one so early and easily, and the sooner the world can reach herd immunity that should end this virus.
I hope everyone had a happy and safe Valentine’s Day! Thanks for reading and following the blog.