My first vaccine!

Whoop, whoop!

So. . . it was time for my annual labs & physical, and in the process of confirming my appointments, I saw something in my patient portal: a notice that the health stats listed in the portal could serve as official proof of comorbidities for the purpose of qualifying for a vaccine. And my health stats were right there, so right away, I was reminded that I have a comorbidity!

Hooray! I am official obese!

I know, I know: I don’t look particularly obese. A little overweight, sure, but not unusually, dangerously so. But in addition to being a little overweight, I am also short, stacked, and muscle-packed: the magical combination that equals a high BMI.

It was funny, because when I told M that I’d scored a vaccine, I started to explain and she interrupted me, “I know, I know, Mom: the BMI is total bullshit.” And I laughed, because I do sort of believe that BMI is an inaccurate measurement, and in the past the obese diagnosis, well, it kind of hurt my feelings. But those days are gone! I will take it, thank you very much! I wanted to share this fairly quickly because maybe one of my readers will get lucky and figure out that they’re obese, too!

Briefly I wondered if it was really fair. But then I saw plenty of news stories saying “go as soon as you’re eligible” and some random Tweets from an ethicist about how you shouldn’t hold back in favor of the more deserving because every shot makes things better for everyone. Plus, damn, did I want a vaccine!

For me, scoring an appointment was really easy. I went to the NY State website to double check my eligibility, then called the New York State vaccine hotline. I had read somewhere that early evening was a good, less-busy time to call, so I called a little after 8 pm on a Monday. They do callback service, so you don’t even have to wait on hold for a long time. Maybe 15 minutes later, I got a call back. I answered some nice lady’s questions and received an appointment for four days later, on Friday morning, at SUNY Albany. At the time, they seemed to have tons of appointments for the whole day. When I went, the people administering my shot said that SUNY was booked up through April. But honestly, I’d call the hotline, because those folks know what’s available where.

We’d already been to SUNY for testing, but this time I got to take a right turn and park before entering a big ol’ tent facility. I brought along my ticket, proof that I’d completed a screening test, my ID, insurance information, and proof of my comorbidity (a screen shot of the patient portal). It was very quick–it seemed like folks barely glanced at my many supporting documents, but they had me on a list and were super staffed-up and efficient. I’d say I received the shot within 10 minutes of parking, and then I was directed to a sort of holding pen with spaced-out chairs to wait 15 minutes in case I had a reaction. I received a Pfizer vaccine.

For this first shot, the only side effects I had were a pretty sore arm for about a day and a half along with a strong sense of mixed relief, elation, and hope.

Here’s hoping that you all get yours soon!


  1. Claire

    That’s awesome news! My husband and my mother are now vaccinated, and I never knew how much stress I was under until I felt that load being removed from my chest. It makes such a huge difference.

  2. Absolutely! I feel like I want a chart with pictures of my family members so I can check them off as they get the shot and rejoice.

  3. Claire

    Just in case any of your readers pop back over here, I wanted to share my experience. I’m…ahem…in the very early stages of that agegroup that just opened up for eligibility last week. I went on the NYS website and they weren’t scheduling till May! I went ahead and scheduled, but thought I would try the pharmacies to see if they had earlier dates. On Tuesday they had not yet updated the criteria, so I couldn’t schedule anything. But I checked again on Wednesday, and within minutes got an appointment at a CVS for my first vaccine injection on Friday (yesterday)! So just some advice to your readers that it might be worth it to check the pharmacies if NYS is scheduling too far out.

  4. Oh, yay Claire! I’m glad you scored an appointment. Cute W made an appointment far in the future, an hour away, too, and then managed to upgrade with Walgreens and got his on Thursday. I’ve heard that some folks are advising to find the reddest zip code around and search for vaccine appointments there, because demand is less.

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