Why I Overcame My Vaccine Hesitancy

At the mass vaccination site I went to in Brooklyn, everyone I encountered was cheerful, patient and reassuring, even the young woman checking me in who couldn’t find me on her list of 3 p.m. appointments. “Don’t worry,” she said reassuringly, “you’ll get the vaccine.”

At the next window, a young man from Nigeria checked my ID and Medicare card and figured out what had happened. Turned out I had inadvertently booked a 3 a.m. appointment, not realizing the site was open 24-7. Another “don’t worry,” and I moved on to a young technician from Florida who painlessly injected the Moderna vaccine into my left arm.

I then sat in a holding tent for 15 minutes to be sure I would have no serious reactions. The next day I got a text: “Hi Jane, It’s time for your daily v-safe check-in” and a link to a C.D.C. site that asked: How are you feeling today? (Good, Fair, Poor); Have you had a fever or felt feverish today? (yes, no); followed by a symptom check, first at the injection site for pain, redness, swelling or itching and then generally for chills, headache, joint pains, muscle or body aches, fatigue or tiredness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and rash or any other symptoms I wanted to report.

Finally, I was asked several overall health impact questions about my ability to work and do my normal daily activities and whether I needed to consult a health care professional. I received the same text at the same time each day for more than a week, and was also given a link if I wanted to send a report to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

The second dose, administered 34 days later, went even more smoothly. By then I’d spoken to dozens of others of various ages who had gotten both shots. Only two reported bad reactions — fever, nausea, extreme fatigue — that lasted a day or two. I was prepared for the worst, but it never happened. My arm, shoulder and neck hurt the first night, but most of the pain was gone the next morning. Although my son was on call in case I couldn’t walk my dog, his help wasn’t needed. I was even able to swim that afternoon.

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