Sunday evening I got an email inviting me to get the Moderna vaccine. I whooped and hollered — Ahhhh, VACCINE! I’m getting the vaccine!!! — and then I turned jittery frantic, racing to sign up before all the available slots disappeared.
My husband was miffed. How do you know that invitation was for you? Was the email addressed to you? Are you sure it wasn’t for me?
So together we read through the email again, and no, it wasn’t addressed to me, and yes, it was for food service workers (so ME), and no it wasn’t for my younger daughter because you have to be 18 to get the vaccine and my daughter’s only 17 and will have to wait for a Pfizer (so, me again).
Mullified, my husband dropped the subject — his wife did, apparently, know how to read an email after all — but he was still jealous. He even said as much. And truth is, I’m bummed that he’s not getting it first, or at least with me. Because of his asthma, I’ve always considered him higher priority.
But! If you get an invitation, YOU TAKE THE FREAKING INVITATION.
I’ve heard people express feelings of jealousy of everyone’s happy I-got-my-vaccine photos (or guilt about getting theirs when others couldn’t), and while I understand the feeling (and have even had mild twinges, especially when I see a younger person getting the vax before me), mostly I’ve just felt excited and joyful, and relieved, in an anticipatory sort of way: Yes! [fist bump] One more person safe. Hurry, hurry, hurry, HURRY.
After I signed up, I got nervous. What if I signed up wrong? What if I couldn’t find the location? What if I ran into traffic and was late? What if I got there and didn’t have the right paperwork? After a year of dreaming and waiting for this very moment — A COVID VACCINE HALLELUJAH — it felt almost too good to be true.
All day yesterday, I had the words from this song — Have the new jab, have the new jab. Have the new jab. Have the new–eew–eew jab — running through my head.
(I recommend turning the volume way up, closing your eyes, and gently swaying from side to side. Crying optional.)
(A word about all the vaccine resistance, conspiracy theories, etc: Oh, come on. I know I’m supposed to be all understanding and tolerant of the hesistancy and [sometimes justified] skepticism — and regarding vaccines in general, confession: I’ve had my moments — but we’re in the middle of a freaking pandemic, people, so how about we lose the Dark Ages Vibe, ‘kay?)
Also on repeat in my head yesterday: Dolly’s song. The sun was shining and I was going to get my shot. MY SHOT.
I considered chilling a bottle of champagne (but didn’t).
At the vaccination center — I didn’t get lost and I wasn’t late — everything was smooth and cheery and pleasant. I didn’t even need my license, but they did, however, say I needed proof of employment which I didn’t have (I don’t have email on my phone), but I just told the guy that I worked in a bakery and had all the text messages to show for it, and he waved me right through. I guess that means I must look like a baker?
I was super impressed by the whole set-up. Greeters at every step along the way, lines that moved along at a pleasant clip, dozens of vaccine givers, and tons of people just moving through the system, one shot at a time.
Looking around the huge room, I felt overcome. This year has been so hard and now here we are. It made me want to stand up on my chair and shout WE’RE DOING IT, PEOPLE. WE’RE DOING IT.
Instead I quietly moved to the observation area and busied myself filling out the registration for my follow-up shot.
Now that the vaccination process is right here, right now, I’ve been hungrily reading (and re-reading) the CDC’s new guidelines for what vaccinated people can and can’t do, and soaking up all the NPR reports and latest scientific updates. It feels a little like I’m standing on my tippy toes on the bench in a jail cell, straining to see through the tiny barred window to the rest of the world: blue skies, trees, sunshine, balloons, FREEDOM.
The rest of my family is in varying stages of vaccining (new word alert). My parents get their second shot this week. My younger son is too young for any of the vaccines (hurry up, Makers of a Child’s Vaccine!), my younger daughter is itching to get her vaccine but has to wait for the Pfizer, my older son is done done DONE, my husband is waiting, and up in Massachusetts registration isn’t even open yet to people in my older daughter’s age group.
But it’s happening. Bit by bit, we’re inching forward. The end is in sight.