“Medicaid members are best served when they have ready access to providers, insurers are eager to resolve their health care needs, and policymakers exercise strong oversight to ensure members’ health…
If you’re looking to be on trend, healthy, and smart this summer then it’s time to talk about COVID-19 vaccines. GHF’s Communications & Special Projects Manager, Michelle Conde, got her shots this spring. Here she shares her experience and why she recommends others get vaccinated too.
I did my homework
I have been very impatiently waiting for news about the vaccine. After spending months strictly quarantining at home and worrying about the health and safety of my friends and family, I was more than ready for a solution to our ongoing COVID problem. Some people are still hesitant about getting vaccinated but according to experts at Johns Hopkins we have good reasons to feel safe and confident in getting vaccinated:
- Getting the COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from getting sick.
- Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 helps others in your community.
- More vaccinations for COVID-19 mean a chance to return to normal activities—hugs, family holidays, travel, meals in restaurants!
- Though the COVID-19 vaccine development was fast, it did not skip steps.
- Diversity in COVID-19 vaccine testing helped assess safety and effectiveness.
- Side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are short, temporary, and do not mean you’re sick.
- If you’ve already had COVID-19, getting the vaccine will add extra protection.
- Vaccines can’t save lives unless people get vaccinated.
The bottom line for me was this: COVID-19 vaccines are safe. These vaccines have gone through rigorous testing and have been proven effective. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to protect myself and my loved ones, and start living my life again.
Set the date
I spent weeks seething with jealousy that my family and boyfriend had already gotten their first doses back in March because they were all in groups that were eligible early on. As soon as I had the opportunity I pre-registered at Myvaccinegeorgia.com and qualified for vaccine eligibility a few days later. When you read this, all Georgia adults are eligible for a vaccine so you likely won’t have to wait to be eligible! (If you’re 12 to 17 years old, you are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine only and you need a parent’s permission.)
I was able to make an appointment over the phone and was told what to bring the day of my appointment (my photo ID and my mask).
When I arrived at my appointment, I was asked to wait in my vehicle. After that I filled out a few forms and was then sent to the nurse who would administer my shot. I’ll be honest: I hate needles, but this shot takes seconds and didn’t hurt that much. It was quick and easy!
I was asked to wait 15 minutes just in case any serious side effects occurred and was able to schedule my second dose while I waited. I had no side effects at the time and was able to go home full of excitement, hope, and some new antibodies.
The process for making a vaccine appointment is even easier now! You can visit vaccines.gov to find a free and safe COVID-19 vaccine near you. Using this resource allows you to filter your search by vaccine type (Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, or Johnson & Johnson/Janssen), your zip code, and how far you are willing to travel.
I have never been so excited to have a needle in my arm.
I have never been so excited to have a needle in my arm—really! The most stressful part of the experience for me was picking the right outfit for such an important day. (I highly recommend a shirt that allows for easy access to your shoulders, like Dolly Parton’s!) I felt such a huge sense of relief knowing that I had taken steps to protect myself and others and knowing that we were taking steps toward a brighter future.
I received my first dose in early March and felt very minimal soreness in my arm for a few hours after my vaccine. I received my second dose in late March and had prepared myself for stronger side effects, as some people report mild, flu-like symptoms for a day afterwards. Luckily, I only felt some soreness in my arm for two days after my second dose.
Do I recommend others get the vaccine?
Getting the vaccine was easy choice for me. I hope the data about the vaccine’s safety and my experience with the vaccine are positive and reassuring. Going out and spending time with friends is something I waited 14 months to do but I’m thankful to do it now safely.
If you can vaccinated, please do! For yourself, for your friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers on the street. This pandemic has taught us that our health depends on the actions and health of those around us. Right now we are all counting on one another to take steps for our collective health and safety.