We are now over a year into life during a pandemic. I was thinking back to how confident I was when I got sent home from Pepperdine that we’d be back on campus in the fall, that summer would turn this whole thing around. Then summer came and went, and all I was hoping for was a vaccine before we hit the one year anniversary.
Thankfully, there is a vaccine — multiple, in fact. I wasn’t sure how long it would take for me, a 22-year-old with no pre-existing conditions, to get my vaccine.I honestly didn’t care if I had to wait until this summer; I was just happy the vaccine was getting out there.
Then university employees became eligible to receive the vaccine in LA County.
At first, I was certain it didn’t apply to me, a student worker, but was shocked to learn it did. Getting an appointment was not easy. Despite the existence of multiple vaccine locations near me, I couldn’t find an available appointment after a week of checking. I didn’t know what time new appointments opened and, if I’m being honest, I probably wasn’t putting in as much effort as I could have.
But, one morning I woke up at 6:30 am and couldn’t fall asleep, so I decided to start looking. CVS was a bust, aswas Albertsons, Ralphs, Pavilions and even the Mega Pod all the way at Magic Mountain. I was ready to give up for the day when I saw Walgreens next on the list. Not expecting much, I inputted my information and was waiting to get the red writing on my screen telling me there were no appointments.
Instead it said appointments were available. And my heart started racing.
Not only were appointments available, but they were available the next day. Worried it might all be a dream, I registered, with a few hiccups, but managed to secure my spot for the next day.
I was buzzing with excitement for the next 24 hours.
Here’s what to expect:
You have to fill out a medical history form for Walgreens, have your insurance card (don’t worry, in California the vaccine is free!), your most recent pay stub, your work ID and your letter of eligibility.
You also need to get to your appointment 15 minutes early to check in.
When I arrived, I checked in, answered some questions and had my eligibility confirmed. I had to wait a few extra minutes for my turn, but the system was very efficient. I’m not going to lie: the needle is big, but it is so quick and only hurts for a second when they inject the vaccine.
Afterward, they ask you to wait 15 minutes before you can check out, pick up your COVID-19 vaccine card and head home.
I received the Pfizer vaccine and experienced very mild symptoms. The day I got my vaccine my arm was sore, and I was pretty sleepy for the rest of the day, but all I felt the following days was some soreness in my arm.
I’ll be getting my next dose in about a month, which Walgreens scheduled for the same time as my first appointment, so it’s one less step I have to do.
While I am now partially vaccinated I’m still following the CDC guidelines by staying home most of the time, avoiding large groups, and wearing a mask and washing my hands when I do go out.
We’re all in this together and will get through this together.