a peek inside the fishbowl

15 Apr, 2021

I got jabbed! #TeamPfizer

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

On the same day our youngest turned 20, I got my first Covid vaccine. For the record, my next one is scheduled four months from now.

I wasn’t going to write about getting my shot because I wanted to avoid any backlash. Let me just say that I agree there is a long list of people who should have received the vaccine before me: teachers, essential workers, anyone with any sort of health condition, even post-secondary students.

What convinced me to get the shot, other than the fact that it was offered to me as someone who works in health care and have regular contact with some elderly and vulnerable individuals, is this column by the resident ethicist at the New York Times. I believe if a vaccine is offered to you, it is your ethical duty to get it, because it doesn’t just protect you, it protects the people around you and the wider community

I decided to write about it here for a few different reasons. (1) It fits the spirit of this blog, which something like a family journal for me, (2) I feel like this is a historical moment, (3) I believe that talking about get the vaccine might convince some people who are sitting on the fence to get it too. Vaccine hesitancy is real, and it’s a real setback to us all getting back to normal, or even something that looks like normal.

My shot was scheduled for last Sunday morning at 9:25 a.m. at the Queensway Carleton Hospital. I was a ball of nerves as soon as I rolled out of bed.

I pulled in there early (too early, because if you’re not early you’re late) and wandered around the parking lot taking deep breaths before walking through the doors.

This is the only photo I have of the whole thing because there were “no photo/no video” signs posted everywhere. All that aside, isn’t nice to be greeted by geese on the way to get your Covid shot? ;)

The greeting team at QCH

There is a Tim Horton’s sign right above the entrance to the Covid vaccination clinic. Amazingly, I only saw one person go through there trying to get a coffee. Security put the kibosh on that one, obviously.

The process was very efficient. Walk in, hand in your form to someone at the door, clean your hands, get a mask, wait in a line, check in with another person for The Drill (“Do you have a fever, shortness of breath …”), wait to get your shot, get your shot, wait for 15 minutes, and leave. Even with the 15 minute wait at the end it seemed to go by very quickly.

Every staff member at every step along the way was cheerful yet professional, kind yet serious. I never felt unsafe, or that my safety wasn’t important. The instructions were clear and easy to follow, whether it was visual, like the green arrows on the floor or verbal e.g “Wait here and the lady in yellow will tell you which station to go to.” I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I was impressed.

The nurse giving me the shot was gentle, and very nice. It only hurt for a moment, as these shots usually do. It’s no worse than a pinch.

Afterwards there was a bit of a line at the exit and a few of us had to go back and sit down again to wait until the bottleneck cleared. We approached as a woman just finished wiping down our chairs. One my cohort apologized and the woman laughed. NO WORRIES, she said. THESE ARE THE CLEANEST CHAIRS IN OTTAWA TODAY.

When I got home Mark asked me if it the clinic was busy. I had to think about my answer for a minute. The best I can say is that it appeared busy, but this is because it was at capacity. As it should be! There was a steady stream of people but it wasn’t crowded, if you catch my meaning. (This is the benefit of timed appointments!)

The only thing that was mildly disappointing was my very real desire to ring a bell or hammer on some kind of giant gong that is shaped like a coronavirus (although I fully acknowledge that this would be annoying to the clinic staff) and the fact that I forgot to dress up in a gown and heels and full (eye) makeup. I was also keen to get a sticker, but this doesn’t exist here apparently. Maybe because some dummies would wear them even if they hadn’t gotten a shot? Or maybe it would kickstart a black market? Anyhoo, I would wear a sticker PROUDLY… at home, in my backyard, when picking up my groceries in the car, and walking the dog. ;)

That was a few days ago and I’m happy to report that other than a localized ache in my upper arm, I have had zero side effects. Yay! I am looking forward to the rest of my family getting their vaccinations soon.

1 Response to "I got jabbed! #TeamPfizer"

1 | Lynn

April 16th, 2021 at 11:00 am


Excellent to hear! Every person who reports getting the shot makes me feel hopeful, like we are one more small step closer to good times again.

Our son has had both shots now (he works in a retirement home). He had no side effects to the first one, but for the second one, about 24 hours later he had about 36 hours of chills and aches and nausea. We looked it up and there are reports that the second shot leads to more side effects. So set aside the day after you get your second shot to be a lighter day, just in case!

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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