Every fall, it comes time to get my flu shot. I usually go to the average Publix or CVS to get the minuscule poke. One time, when I was about six, I went to get my annual flu shot. It wasn’t the first time I’d received a shot but, for some reason, I was absolutely distraught. In the CVS mini-clinic waiting room, my tear ducts swelled with anxiety and fear. Through my steady stream of tears, my dad tried to calm me down. Unfortunately, rational thought did not ease my mental distress, so a Princess Jasmine toy kit was the next best thing. With thoughts of a plastic magic carpet in my head, I finally let the nurse stick the needle into my arm.
While waiting to receive my COVID-19 vaccine this past weekend, I looked back on that incident; the only memorable flu shot experience I’ve had. My mother and I had gotten up early to make our appointments at Mercedes Benz Stadium downtown. The traffic was light, but as we approached the stadium, hundreds of people flooded the entrances. The mood was happy; it was hopeful. Mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives; all filled the seats of Mercedes Benz, clutching their ticket numbers in anticipation. After making it through security, my mother and I were handed our numbers: 945 and 946. “Numbers 750-765, please make your way to the back of the concession area,” bellowed a man over the stadium’s speakers as we climbed our way to the top row of seats. I sat down and looked at my phone, only to notice that my battery was at 6% and would not make it through the expected hours of waiting. I could only wish I had that old Princess playset!
Forced to look up and take in my surroundings, I noticed the hope brewing in the arena. Friends laughed with each other, some read books, but most people talked. They talked to the people they came with and their seat neighbors. All races, genders, and ages gathered together to share in this moment of hope for our nation. Two hours passed and the people who once surrounded my mom and me were called to get their shots, each one hurriedly pacing down the steep stairs to the vaccine site. Finally, our numbers were called. Everything happened quickly after that. A volunteer doctor wiped my arm with a cool alcohol pad and stuck a thin needle into my arm.
I turned 16 in March and was given one dose of the Pfizer Vaccine two weeks later. I had relatively no symptoms and neither did my mother or father when they had their shots. I am blessed to be given the opportunity to protect myself, and you should take advantage of your opportunity too. If you or a family member, age 16 and up, have not gotten your vaccine, I implore you to protect yourself and our country from our one common enemy, COVID-19.
For more information on Vaccine Distribution in Georgia please visit: georgia.gov/ covid-vaccine