My Pfizer Vaccine Experience


Receiving the first dose

With the pandemic changing lives drastically, the creation and distribution of a vaccine is crucial to the return of a “normal life.” As the various vaccines rolled out it has become a new controversial topic, with various conspiracies involving Bill Gates, microchips and the government all undermining the public’s trust in Covid-19 vaccines.

Despite the controversy, misinformation and politics, I was determined for months to get the vaccine. As a student-athlete (in person), restaurant worker and volunteer at my local church, I felt as if it was necessary for me to get the vaccine. Recently on April 17th, I had finally got my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Here’s how the vaccination process went.

Luckily for me, the process was made easier since I had such ease scheduling appointments. With three members of my family being employees for the city alongside my job as a restaurant worker, I am considered to be a somewhat high priority individual for getting vaccinated.

Despite this, it still took persistence. It took three appointments for me to get my first vaccine shot.

The first attempt was at Dodger Stadium on March 12th for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Both my mom and I waited around an hour, in a line that looped around the hills of Los Angeles. Upon arrival, I was denied the vaccine shot since I am not old enough for the Johnson & Johnson shot specifically (you have to be 18 to get a one dose vaccination shot.) It was frustrating. After weeks of anticipation, waking up early in the morning and getting out of bed, only to be denied a vaccination shot.

The second attempt was through my dad. My dad had signed me up for a vaccination appointment on March 22nd at a high school in Lynwood through his job within the school district. Once I arrived, the wait in line was quick. The volunteers at the vaccination site were on point, both taking my temperature and verifying my appointment in a matter of minutes. Through this appointment, I was scheduled to receive the  vaccine which was a two dose shot. But, once again, I was denied the vaccination shot. This time I was denied since the organization providing and funding the vaccinations did not allow Moderna vaccinations to anyone under 18 (even though all two dose vaccinations are allowed to anyone above 16). At this point I was not surprised but still disappointed, I understood the vaccination process was already long so these constant setbacks seemed like a waste of time. After this failed appointment, both my mom and dad made constant efforts toward my vaccination.

These previous attempts lead up to my third and final attempt. My first dose of the Pfizer vaccine was scheduled for March 27th at a Kaiser hospital in Los Angeles. Once my final appointment was scheduled, I understood the requirements, age limits and even the side effects since my family members had received their vaccinations (and since I learned so much through the other attempts).

Both Kaiser appointments were quick and seamless, with the workers giving simple and clear instructions. The entire process took under 25 minutes, including the time it took to find a parking space, wait in line and receive the shot. For those that are used to amusement parks, you could compare the Kaiser vaccine experience to the line to a popular ride, they gave clear instructions throughout the process, with railing and stickers on the cement to direct you in the proper direction.

The process started with a 5 minute wait in line after confirming your information. Once finished filling out the paperwork and reading about the vaccine, you are led by a volunteer into the tent where people were getting their shots. You then wait until a spot opens up. Once you sit down in a seat, you are then introduced to the medical professional and confirm whichever dose and vaccination you’re getting. After this you receive your shot. From my experiences and everyone I’ve talked to about the shot the first shot itself was less painful than expected and quick while the second shot was the more painful one (but it didn’t still hurt all that much.) Immediately after you take your shot you’re instructed to wait 15 minutes in a waiting area in case of any side effects (nothing happened to anyone both time during times during the waiting period.)  

The side effects after receiving the shot were tolerable. The first shot had only left my arm sore for around three days. The second shot was different, I was left with a fever the night of the shot and a headache three days following the shot.