My first vaccine!
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!