New Shoe Syndrome and Other Thoughts on the Vaccine

Train station in Rowland, North Carolina

I’ve gotten a few questions about our experience with scheduling and actually getting the vaccine, and thought it might be helpful to share a few thoughts.

The Process: I’ve mentioned previously how frustrating the registration process is for many of the county and health agency websites.  Kathy & I are fortunate to be registered with the two major health providers in our area, so we were able to use our login credentials to access those sites, which likely led to a slightly better experience.  We ended up with the Moderna Vaccine through Novant Health.

We were fortunate to find any locations at all on the very first morning of our eligibility.  The fact that the one we found was 200 miles away was no big deal for us.  We have the flexibility to go wherever we need to, and it was easy for us to make the trip.

The vaccination  site was in the parking area of a community college near Wilmington, NC.  The approach was well marked, there were National Guard personnel directing traffic into several lines, checking to confirm appointments and providing forms for completion.  The one glitch was that we had pre-filled everything online, but they still had us manually complete paperwork with the same information.  Taking the paperwork pre-filled and printed would not have helped.

We arrived at about 10:40 for an 11:00 appointment, and although the lines looked long, we queued up and were directed to the actual vaccination line promptly at 11:00 (not due to any process on their part, it just happened to work out).  We sat in our car until someone came around, asked us a few more questions, explained the process and handed us each a card with confirmation of our follow up appointments for the same time and day of the week in four weeks.  Shortly thereafter two nurses came up with the vaccine, plunked each of us in the arm, wrote the time on a paper stuck to the windshield, and told us that after the prescribed waiting time we would be released.  We rolled out of the parking lot at 11:30.

Train station in Rowland, North Carolina

The Vaccine: Did we have any concerns about getting the vaccine? None.  We feel strongly that the vaccines have been adequately tested, we trust in the scientific validity of the data and believe that getting the vaccine has a much lower level of risk than not getting it.  Everyone makes their own choice, but we feel that in order to do the kind of travel we want to do, more states, countries and companies will require a vaccination than not and we don’t want to be left out when the time comes.

Train station in Rowland, North Carolina

Side Effects: None really, but it surprises me how hyper-aware we become when we’re looking for something.  I call it “new shoe syndrome” because of how when we buy a new pair of shoes we spend days paying attention to every little twinge or pinch.  We recently bought new tires for the car, and for the first few drives I paid close attention to the sound, feel and ride.  After a while you forget about it.  We stopped at a restaurant for lunch, and while there a guy came in wearing a really strong cologne.  Strong odors like cologne and smelly air fresheners always bother me, so when my throat got a little scratchy I wrote it off.  No big deal.  Our arms hurt for a few days, especially while we slept.  But my left hip is often sore anyway, and since I got my shot in my left arm, I just spent more time on my right side!

Dilapidated building near the train station in Rowland, North Carolina

Eligibility: We’ve read about people gaming the system by falsely answering the questions, crossing state lines to states with more favorable rules or otherwise getting the shot before they should have.  Kathy & I waited for our group to be called, answered all the questions truthfully and lucked into an early appointment.  Could we have waited?  Sure, but why?  Everyone who wants a shot will eventually be able to get one, so it really doesn’t matter when we go.  Could we have gotten an appointment closer to home?  Perhaps, but once we got our appointments I stopped looking.  I read somewhere about local appointments now booking out into May or June, but it doesn’t matter any more.  The owner of the restaurant we had lunch at told us that someone called him the other afternoon to say that they had 15 Johnson & Johnson shots that were going to expire at the end of the day and to send along anyone who needed them.  That happens too, you never know.

I don’t really have a lot to add.  If anyone has questions I’ll be happy to answer them as comments or emails.  Ultimately everyone is going to make their own decision and have their own experience, but I’ll help where I can.

The Photos: These photos are from the town of Rowland, NC which is on the NC side of the NC/SC line near South of the Border.  They are in-camera JPEGs taken using the Kodachrome 64 recipe from Fuji X Weekly.  The conditions were less than ideal for Kodachrome and look a little warm/brown for my taste, but I’m not sure I got the white balance right.  I’ll try them again under sunny skies and see how they look.  I also shot in RAW and will process those my usual way for comparison.  It’s an interesting look and I’ve been enjoying playing with them.

4 thoughts on “New Shoe Syndrome and Other Thoughts on the Vaccine”

  1. Thanks for the thorough report. There hasn’t been much problem for people to get the vaccinations out here and not very long waits. I know some who have dad to travel a few miles to get the shot. Glad you didn’t have any side effects. Just found out that my oldest granddaughter tested positive for COVID-19 this past Friday. She seems to be doing fine, with only a headache and fever.

    1. I guess it depends on how the vaccines are being distributed. It seems around here that a large number are going to smaller outlets like drug stores, and they are not widely publicized, so it is hard to find out and keep track of what is where. They have had large drive-thru events here, even some at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which I think is where Earl went. But in my opinion they opened this most recent phase to too large a group, making it a lot harder to get a slot.

      Interestingly, even after a year I only directly know one person who has had it, and that was a mild case last March. I know I don’t have a large social circle but even our neighbors appear to have avoided it.

  2. I saw a mention on Twitter that as the tide turns wrt those vaccinated (becoming a majority soon) that there is a sense of FOMO and some feel the urgent need to be vaccinated NOW!

    When I was jabbed the second time and drove off it kinda felt like I had just finished jury duty, my civic pride swelled a bit and I felt pretty good about it.

    Here we had a super center at PetCo park where I went on the advice of a friend even though Kaiser was ramping up and I could have used them. Nonetheless, for a major operation it went very well, the first time. The second shot I decided to use the supercenter again since the first was so easy. Not so. Three hours in line (in my car so I had music) creeping thru downtown and finally to the finish line. It’s over and I’m glad to have done it.

    1. I’ve been reading about all of the different emotions people are experiencing, both those who have gotten the vaccine and those who are searching for an appointment. I feel very fortunate to have gotten an appointment so quickly and easily, especially without having to ‘game the system’ as some people have been accused of or accusing others of.

      I haven’t felt any kind of relief, although I might after the second shot. Probably because I never really considered myself to be at high risk anyway, and because we have been working very hard to minimize our exposure and to be responsible in our interactions with others.

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