Yesterday I finally managed to book a slot to get my first dose of the Coronavirus vaccine. This was a huge milestone! It has been tough to find vaccines. It even seemed as if vaccines didn’t exist, and this entire vaccine drive is a colossal hoax. No center seemed to have vaccine slots for 18+. All you could see were no slots available or slots “booked.” Shouldn’t there be vaccines to even have a “booked” slot? The government seems apathetic to the public. Some politicians have even been trying to drive the entire Covid-19 calamity under the rug. There are no free-government-sponsored vaccines available for 18+ even though they claimed there will be some slots. You can only find paid vaccines by private institutions. The entire vaccine drive seems like a massive corruption scheme designed to fill the coffers of politicians.
Getting a vaccine seems like a life-and-death situation.
I had been on edge ever since vaccinations were started for 18+. Finding a vaccine slot seems tougher than cracking IIT. My mom woke me up yesterday telling me there are slots available. Surprisingly there were 140 slots. With one foot still in dreamland, I fumbled with my phone, opened the Aarogya Setu app, and booked my slot. In less than a minute, 40 slots were already gone.
When the time came, I double-masked (wearing one N95 and one regular surgical mask), wore a face shield, and drove to the center. It was hot outside, and each passing minute was getting more unbearable. N-95 masks and face shields are not fun to wear. Only a few more minutes, and I’ll be done and vaccinated—nothing I can’t bear.
What awaited me after arriving was a long, long wait. My token was 577 and the current token going on was 510. Eighty people between me and the vaccine! The only saving grace was that the center was a mall and had air conditioning. Otherwise, I don’t know how I would have managed. Social distancing was maintained as best as possible. There was nothing much to do except waiting. I decided to study for my finals while waiting. Luckily many people with token numbers lower than me were not present. So my number came sooner than expected. It took two hours of waiting.
The vaccination procedure went by fast, and the doctor present was nice and friendly. I have suspicions that the nurse inoculated me a little higher near the shoulder than the usual vaccine location. It hurt! I have been getting many vaccines recently due to my university requirements. But this vaccine hurt considerably more. I had received the Covishield vaccine dose-1. The second dose would be after 84 days.
After the thirty-minute post-vaccination wait and receiving my certificate — I am officially vaccinated! I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. I still need the second dose to be completely secured, but I felt a lot safer now. My arm felt sore, but overall I felt good. I didn’t get any fever even hours after the vaccine. I guess I was fortunate, and the side-effects didn’t haunt me.
How wrong was I?
I woke up today. My entire body ached. It felt as if I had been hit by a truck. My eyes were parched. It didn’t matter if I closed them or opened them; they stung. It was as if someone was poking my eyes with a red-hot needle. My head was about to blow. My vaccine arm felt like lead: heavy, and moving it was painful. I felt like vomiting but can’t really do it on an empty belly I was in agony and felt utterly miserable. I partly regretted taking the vaccine. It is the finals week in university, and I have project deadlines and studying to do. Maybe I could have waited one more week?
I have been out for the entire day. I have been sleeping and drinking as much fluid as I can. My fluid intake has consisted chiefly of hot water, tea, and coconut milk. I have been abusing my eye drops to moisturize my burning eyes and cursing Covid-19 every waking moment. The only silver lining was the fact that my fever wasn’t too high. It mostly stayed around 99°F and went to 100°F one time only.
The day is finally about to end. It had been over 9 hours since I took any medicine. And now I am feeling a lot better. My arm still hurts, but my body aches have subsided. My eyes feel better now, and I can finally wade through the dreaded finals week. Hopefully, I can take a short break after the exams and relax a bit.
Some changes to improve the vaccine drive? Have more slots available. There are only 4-time slots, each 3-4 hours long, in selected private institutions. This causes a long wait time and is inefficient. It is better to have smaller slots. Maybe 15-30 minute slots distributed across more centers. This would help divert traffic and cause less risk to exposure and shorter wait times.
I just hope more people can get vaccinated fast. I am worried about the laborers and daily workers who can’t afford to pay Rs. 1,000 for the vaccine. These people are more at risk due to their job.
83 more days to complete protection!