April 6, 2021
The biggest development since my last entry is that I’ve had two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. I am so relieved. I’ll feel even better in another eight days when I’ll be considered fully vaccinated, and better yet later this month when Mr. K gets his second dose, and probably over the moon 14 days after that when he reaches the fully vaccinated plateau. When Idaho’s commission in charge of the vaccine rollout initially set the phases, it looked like we might have to wait until May to get our shots, so I’m extra delighted that we’re where we’re at here in early April.
I was able to get my first dose earlier than the state’s master plan called for only because someone posted in a local progressive women’s group on Facebook that the big health system in the county to the south of me had opened up their eligibility to folks in my age group with conditions that put them at higher risk. I jumped on that and got an appointment, feeling it was worth it to drive the hour and a half down there since there was no way to know when our local places would get to people like me. Mr. K elected to wait to be called from the state’s COVID-19 vaccine waitlist registry, which we signed up on the day after it went live. I was very skeptical of the registry, but as it turned out, he did get notified of appointments available a couple weeks after I got my first shot. Those appointment slots were not with our local health district, which by that time had set up vaccine clinics and opened eligibility to the group next in line after the one I qualified under, but from the same health system I went through. He declined that opportunity and took himself off the registry since I was able to get him an appointment at a clinic only about 20 minutes from our house.
I don’t regret not waiting until I could have gotten my vaccines closer to home. With as many people around here not taking the pandemic seriously, it’s been good for my mental health to be able to do something more to protect myself. Our local health district lifted their mask mandate recently, on the same day as they announced the California variant was confirmed to be in our area, so that’s how things are going. I suspect we’re starting to see more availability of vaccines in the area because so many folks around here are anti-vax, anti-science, pro-conspiracy theory, pro-Trump (yes, still). They cheered the end of the mask mandate (not that they were following it anyway). They call themselves “face friendly” and claim that they care more about the community that those of use who are masking up (I’ve yet to see one of them make a convincing argument for that because of course there isn’t a convincing argument for that). One of my reps in the state House backed a mask burning event last month. It’s bad. I push back when I have the energy, not to try to sway those who are really beyond reason at this point, but to show others here like me that they’re not alone. As more people seem to be giving up on precautions, I’ve taken to double masking, with an N95 under cloth, as shown in my post-first-shot selfie here:
I suppose I should mention the symptoms I experienced post-shot, even though they were in line with what I expected based on the information I was given when I went in and what friends have been posting on social media. After the first, I had some arm pain and swelling and redness around the injection site starting almost right away, and a headache the day after that was annoying but didn’t keep me from skiing (though I did stop early, which I do sometimes even when I haven’t gotten a vaccine). The day after that, I was pretty much back to normal. After the second shot, I had more arm pain and swelling and redness, some of which is still lingering today, on the sixth day afterwards. I woke on the day after the second shot feeling really achy, like I had the flu. I stayed home from the slopes and rested. I started to run a fever in the afternoon and that continued all evening, peaking at 100.4 F. I felt fatigued and fell asleep on the couch watching tv, then went to bed a few hours earlier than usual. By the next morning, the fever was gone, most of the aches were gone, and I took some ibuprofen for the lingering headache and went out to ski. I would have gladly suffered much worse symptoms to get the protection of the vaccine.
I’d post a photo of my vaccine card here, but I’ve learned that’s not a great idea, even if one covers the full name and other personal information fields. Apparently scammers are using the vaccine batch numbers and such to create fake cards, which of course they are because the world is full of trash. But at least I’ll be able to participate more fully in the non-trash parts of that world sooner than I’d hoped. I’m not going to go wildâ€”it’ll be a long time before I feel comfortable dining indoors, I think, but Mr. K and I are planning to take a few days and go visit his mom (who was vaccinated early on in her assisted living facility). We’ll keep masking up and washing our hands and maintaining distance from other folks, but I just won’t be as worried about ending up in the hospital thanks to my anti-science neighbors who are perfectly willing to risk my health for their own convenience.