Getting Covid Vaccines

Soooo, I got my vaccine. I’ve been drafting this post since I got my first dose of vaccine, and scheduled to post it after I got my second dose of vaccine. But because of one thing and another, somehow this was posted a bit late. But, well, now that you can read this post, it means I’ve been “fully” vaccinated 😉

Anyway, why did I decide to get it? Well, I’m tired of the pandemic. And I know it will be harder to get the vaccine in my home country. So while I am here, I guess I should just make the most of it. What’s more, it’s free, the govt recommends and encourages the people to get it, so why not just be a good citizen, right?

Covid Test
But, my campus actually had this mandatory weekly Covid test for the students, otherwise, we have to declare remote learning or there will be consequences. I declared remote learning since I am not taking any classes and just doing my dissertation. I don’t go to campus every week anyway as I stay home most of the time. But, well, I thought, if I were to get the vaccine, then I’d want to make sure that I didn’t have Covid before that. So I decided to take the Covid test, schedule an appointment, and such. Thankfully now they use the PCR Saline Gargle Test method, ’cause to be honest, I was kinda scared of PCR test due to the painful method that I heard. So having PCR Saline Gargle Test is such a relief. Though it’s still troublesome ’cause I need to be enrolled in this wellcheck program in which I need to regularly report my temperature and such. You know I don’t really like such routines. Hikz But anyway, sometimes we just have to do things we don’t like for the goods of others, so well… But that was what I thought. I guess I kinda misunderstood that because after I did participate in the wellcheck program, I figured it wasn’t that troublesome. I just needed to answer around 3 questions of whether or not I plan to be on campus, if I had Covid symptoms or was in contact with someone, and if I got Covid test elsewhere. And that was pretty it.

Anyway, PCR Saline Gargle Test is so easy. I made an appointment online (there was also a video I must watch, i.e. how to do the test later and whatnot). I came to the site as scheduled and made sure I didn’t eat, drink, or brush my teeth 30 minutes before taking the test because that’s the SOP. So I didn’t even apply my lip balm, because, who knows? LoL Anyway, when I arrived, the queue wasn’t long. I checked in. They gave me the toolkit. I swished and gargled. I submitted it back and left. They gave me updates (through email) about when my saline test was brought to the lab and analyzed. And the next day they texted and emailed me to notify me that the result had been out, and I thought it was so fast. But, look, the test was negative. I didn’t have Covid before taking the vaccine. I was happy ^^

First Dose of Covid Vaccine
I got my first dose of the Covid vaccine the night after I took my Covid test, on the same day. And it’s both easy and not easy. I mean, I was not on the list of priorities since I was only an international student. I wasn’t working and such. Meanwhile, they prioritized medical workers first, elderly above 65 and then above 55, and people working as educational staff and other essential workers, so I could only watch when some friends who became Teaching Assistants or Research Assistants got their vaccines. But then they lowered the age requirement so that anyone aged 16 and above could get the vaccine. And by the time I started drafting this post, only a few states apply this policy. Other states still prioritize the elderly and essential workers only. So I guess I am quite lucky to live in AZ.

But, ugh, when I first tried to book the slot online, I couldn’t make it. Imagine, they opened the registration on the web on Wednesday at 8 am, but by the time I tried to book it at 8.30 am, they said no more slots were available. I was both sad and happy. Sad because I couldn’t get my slot, happy because it means a lot of people were enthusiastic to get the vaccine. And the sooner everyone gets the vaccine, the sooner we can be “safer” in a way. So then I tried my luck at the next opening, when they started on Friday at 11 am. I was on standby even before that. But by the time I tried to confirm the booking, the slot was already taken. It was frustrating. A friend then suggested that I make a call if I couldn’t book it online because that worked for her sister. I tried, and I made it. Yay!

I was quite happy that I could get a sit-down slot on my campus. When I was trying to book it myself online, the sit-down slots weren’t available at all, and so I was considering the drive-through option, even though I couldn’t book it either at the end. LoL I mean, I don’t have a car, so getting the vaccine on my campus is the only convenient and feasible option for me as I can just walk to the site. So I was very happy when I could book it by making the call to the designated line. The staff in charge was very nice and kind too, so yeah, I’ve got a soft spot for such people^^ By the way, I thought I would get an email notification, but they just gave me an appointment ID to jot down and show at the site later. So on the D-day, I called them again to make sure and they said everything was fine, and I was indeed registered to get the vaccine that day.

I was scheduled to get my first dose at night, around 8.25 pm because that’s the earliest available slot when I made the call. I came and checked in. I told the staff my appointment ID and ID card, i.e. my driver’s license/instruction permit. I also brought my passport, just in case. They gave me a medical mask to put on top of my already put-on mask. They checked some info that I gave when I made the appointment on the phone. They gave me a consent form to sign. But when they were about to inject the vaccine, they realized that some of the info was wrong, i.e. they spelled my first name wrong 🤪😅 So I had to start all over again. They canceled my appointment and re-registered me as a walk-in. I thought I would have to go home and come back another day, but they actually gave me my first dose that same night, so I was happy 🙂

I got the Pfizer vaccine, by the way. I thought I would get Moderna because that’s what some friends showed off on their social media, but apparently, my friends had the vaccine not on campus site since the campus provided only Pfizer. Hhe But, well, no problem. The “problem” was, I thought I could get the second dose before Ramadan/the fasting month. It turned out that I’d get the second shot during Ramadan when I am fasting. I was surprised when the staff told me about the date because I thought I just needed to wait for two weeks for my second dose, but the staff said it’s at least three weeks for Pfizer and 4 weeks for Moderna. So I guess I’ve got no choice? I could’ve scheduled it at night, but the earliest was 9.30 pm and somehow at that time I didn’t feel safe so I opted for the next day to have it during the day. I kinda regretted it because, well, I thought maybe it’s better to have it at night so after getting the shot I could just sleep. And in Ramadan, I usually walk alone at night just fine anyway. But, oh, well, I was thinking of rescheduling, but… But thankfully on the day I was scheduled to get my second dose, I was actually not fasting because I was on my period. I guess I’m lucky? ^^

Anyway, they gave me a vaccination card, saying I should keep it in a safe place, put it along with other documents in case I need to travel, take a picture of it just in case and bring it when I am back for the second dose. They asked me to stay on the site for around 15 minutes to see if I’d be fine or if there would be any side effects or such. But nothing happened. After that, I just went back home and slept since I had already had my Indomie dinner before leaving my apt to get the vaccine. But, I’m not sure if it’s because of the vaccine or what, but I guess I became kinda hyper and happy. After leaving the room, I just greeted all the staff saying “thank you” and bid them a “good night”. Hahaha Well, I was wearing my mask, so they couldn’t see me smiling. LoL

Anyway, I didn’t feel any pain the days afterward, just my arm felt a bit sore for a very brief time, so I guess I was fine. I’m curious about what would happen if I took another Covid test after I had the vaccine, though. Well, some people seemed skeptical about the vaccine, but I was just, I don’t know, we’re all going to die anyway. What’s more, I’m not the only one getting the vaccine, so I know I won’t be alone if something bad happens. But let’s hope nothing bad happens^^

So, just to make sure, I took another Covid test a week after I got my first shot of the Pfizer vaccine. Because, you know, some people have been worrying about the possibility of the vaccine causing us to get Covid, and I think it will be interesting to test it myself. (Besides, I could get a reward for doing the Covid test on my campus. Haha). But, well, I’m glad that it came back negative. That way I can ensure other people too that the vaccine is safe^^

I also did another test a week afterward and, again, it came back negative. Well, I’ve read some cases where people still could get Covid even after they got vaccinated. But I guess people misunderstood what vaccine was actually for. Some people believe that vaccines could prevent us from getting Covid, but as I read more, that’s not actually the case. The vaccine helps to lessen the severity if we somehow get Covid. Let’s say our body is our home, a castle, or our kingdom. Vaccines act as the guards that protect us against the enemy, i.e. the viruses. So even when we have the guards, there is no guarantee that the enemy won’t attack, right? But if we have the guards, we can minimize the damage when the enemy attacks because the guards are there fighting the enemy for us. Am I making any sense? So yeah, even when vaccinated, we still have to practice social distancing, wear masks, and such because well, we might have been vaccinated and protected against the virus, but maybe others that are more vulnerable might not have been vaccinated and hence are not protected. And it’s our job to help protect them. I mean, we don’t want to be such a carrier, right? Like, we can be immune to the viruses because we are vaccinated but the viruses can be in our clothes and such and it can spread to someone that has not been vaccinated yet. So yeah, I think the reasons all of my Covid tests came back negative is not because of the vaccines alone or per se, but more because I’ve stayed home a lot and went out only when it’s necessary. But, well, once vaccinated, I could feel more at ease going out when needed at least^^

Second Dose of Covid Vaccine
Anyway, I went for my second dose of vaccine as scheduled. Well, I was around 20minutes late, though 🙈✌🏼 But, ugh, it was hot. April in Tucson, AZ somehow felt like summer already. And when I arrived, the volunteers asked me if I had an appointment, whether it was my second dose or first dose and such. They thanked me for getting the vaccine. They gave me water. Aaaaaaa, why can’t people be nice all the time like this? 😶 Anyway, I was directed to this girl who checked my appointment and stuff. And she said “Happy Ramadan” to me. Gosh, that made me so happy that they knew it. It made me feel appreciated, you know. That my existence was acknowledged. That felt really nice. I don’t know why in my country many people made a fuss about acknowledging the big days of other religions 😔💔 But anyway, they actually offered me another mask. But when they saw me wearing double masks (I put another medical mask underneath my cloth mask, learning from my previous experience), they just gave me it as a spare but didn’t ask me to wear it immediately. Then they directed me to the venue, at which I was greeted by another volunteer. And she was really nice. Even though she was wearing a mask, I could see her smile underneath. She asked me how my day was, and, again, thanked me for getting the vaccine. Gosh, it was my pleasure! But seriously, though. If you saw these nice Americans, it’s kinda hard to believe that racism exists in this country. But, ugh, well, maybe I’m lucky to meet the good and nice ones?

They emailed me this after I got the second dose! 🙂

Anyway, I didn’t wait long. It was really fast. But I noticed something, every time they checked my data, they always confirmed my birthdate. I guess it’s very important information, huh? Did I reveal my birthday here before? I guess I should recheck and remove it if any, ’cause I don’t want it to be misused. LoL Well, I’ve never really revealed my birthday on my social media profile because I don’t like the idea of people remembering my birthday or congratulating me because social media reminds them of it. (I want them to remember it because it is important to them. LoL) Still, sometimes I still congratulate myself on my own birthday, so maybe I should stop doing it as well, ’cause, again, personal data seem to be so invaluable in this social media era so I must keep it a secret. I guess?

Anyway, I got my second shot. I asked them about the news about Pfizer because I read that they would require a third shot within 12months but by then maybe I will have been back in my country and I doubt that we’ll have Pfizer there so I was kinda anxious. But, ugh, I was actually anxious for this second shot because some people said they had bad reactions to the second shot, such as dizzying, feverish, and stuff. I remember a friend in my apt complex back then asked me to check in on them after they got their second shot. So I was kinda anxious because, if my body reacted badly, then who would check in on me? Well, I wasn’t fasting that day because I was on my period, but I was still anxious. However, after getting my shot and staying around for about 15 minutes, I felt just fine. Well, it stung a bit and my arm felt a bit sore for a while but not that bad. Other than that, I was just starving because I didn’t have proper breakfast and just had a hardboiled egg and banana before going to get my second dose of vaccine. LoL

But, by the way, I met an Indonesian acquaintance who happened to get her second shot there too at that time, so we talked a bit and took pictures together and of each other. LoL I didn’t immediately go home, though, because I wanted to go to the pantry to get some fruit and milk. My parents video-called me when I was waiting for the pantry to open. So when I arrived home, I called them back. Then I had my meal. And took a nap. Not sure if it was the vaccine or just me being lazy-and depressed-because I didn’t want to touch my dissertation. But, ugh, well, I guess I was feeling fine. My body was just as usual. But gosh, just when I wanted to say “I really love my body because it really gives me no trouble. Not getting sick easily, not giving weird reactions when taking vaccine or medication, not getting tired easily when needed, etc. I love my body!”, that evening I actually got feverish, the pain in my arm got worse (not sure if it was my imagination but I felt it was kinda swelling a bit, and just when I had praised the nurse for being skilled enough to give injections with almost no pain!), and I felt so weak. I knew I was sick because I didn’t really have appetites and my urine felt hotter/warmer than normal. (Wait, is this considered vulgar? But hey, I’m talking about health here, and you see, it’s always good to know your body well!). So I just lay down, slept, and did nothing. No, I didn’t take any medicine. My principle when I get sick is: Rest, eat healthy even when I have no appetite, and don’t immediately resort to or rely on medicine. (Well, I applied some Counterpain on my aching arm, though. But it’s external medicine, so I’m fine with that). And, I actually planned to get another Covid test next day so that I could claim my rewards, (the rewards can only be claimed after getting the Covid test 4 times), but because the sickness continued till the next day, I decided to postpone it and just rest at home. Basically, I could do nothing on that day. So let’s not talk about my dissertation. But thankfully, I threw up after getting my dinner that night. So I knew I was going to get better. I knew, because that’s just how my body works. I continued to rest and the next day I woke up, I felt much better. My urine’s temperature got back to normal, my body didn’t feel so weak, so yeah, I guess I’m still thankful for my body. It might not be “attractive” in a way, but it’s healthy, and I guess that’s what I need? ^^

So well, I decided to take another Covid test that day, just to see if I got Covid or not, because, you see, the symptoms, how I reacted to the second dose. Well, at first I did the wellcheck but they told me to stay home. I guess because I answered I had a symptom in the past 72 hours, but hey, I wasn’t having it that day! So I redid the wellcheck and they allowed me to come and make the appointment and I went to campus only to have that test. Wow to myself. LoL But hey, I was confident I was getting better and well but because they didn’t notify of the result as soon as usually, I couldn’t help thinking: What if the result actually got back positive and I got Covid? I thought, if that’s the case, that would be because of the vaccine because other than taking the vaccine, I did nothing differently, i.e. I stayed home most of the time and didn’t really interact with anyone. I tried to take the bright side, i.e. my body was reacting because the vaccine was working, but I was now fine, so I shouldn’t worry. That’s what I thought. I was good at humoring myself, huh? But well, I finally got the notification of the test result, and, hey, it was negative. All of my four tests came back negative, before and after I took the vaccine, so it means I’ve never got Covid and now I’m protected. Right? I’ll still have to be careful because there are new and more dangerous variants, though, and not everyone has been vaccinated, so… ^^

Anyway, I took a pic of my Covid vaccination card and uploaded it to my campus health website so that I could be exempted from the weekly mandatory Covid testing, and I got a $5 reward for that. I also claimed my $5 reward for taking the Covid tests 4times, so I guess now I’ve got $10 reward? Well, the reward could be used only on certain locations and I couldn’t really cash it. But I guess I can use it to buy some regalia for my graduation considering that the gown, hood, cap, and such is actually hella pricey…

But, well, now I’m feeling better. I’m fasting again. So I guess I’d better continue working on my dissertation? (I’ve scheduled my defense, so let’s hope I can meet the deadline. Please wish me luck and pray for me!^^) And please stay safe and healthy. And please get the vaccine if you can 😉

PS: I found these interesting.  First, the cute stickers that my university made^^ Second, the fact that even Instagram (and Twitter as well as other social media platforms actually) keeps informing me about getting the Covid vaccine. I think it’s just great to give such encouragement persistently. Somehow it makes it easier if people want to get the vaccine, right? I wonder if this also happens in other countries especially my country…

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