By Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD
Dec. 30, 2020
As optometrists await the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the following is my first-hand experience of receiving the vaccination on the morning of Dec. 28.
Each state (and in some cases, even down to the level of each hospital) creates their own priority for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Optometrists may be prioritized in your state differently than your staff. We are currently investigating how and when our staff will receive the vaccine.
I received my first shot of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 on Dec. 28. The Moderna vaccine relies on messenger RNA to deliver instructions to cells in your body, causing production of small parts of the Covid-19 virus that are just enough to trigger the immune system without getting you sick.i
One of our offices is located within a medical facility containing an emergency department and many medical offices. This facility began granting access to COVID-19 vaccines last week.
You couldn’t just walk in; registration for the vaccine was required. I received a link from the hospital to register, giving me options of locations and times. The link suggested that I schedule the appointment on my day off or after my shift in case side effects occur. I was asked for my protected health information and if I had symptoms of COVID or exposure to COVID.
On the day and time I chose, I arrived at the location (a local hospital). I had to show ID to get in the main entrance. Once past that first gate, I had to go through more check-in stations, each ensuring I was supposed to be there.
Since I was on their list, I was given another link to fill out containing more in-depth questioning. These additional questions asked if I had any reactions to previous vaccines, history of anaphylaxis, other vaccines in the last 14 days, pregnancy, planned pregnancy or the presence of any immunosuppressive conditions. They also gathered my health insurance information, and the hospital wanted to make sure I understood their payment policy, HIPAA information and release of liability. I had to digitally sign in three places.
I was told in the original link there would be no fee for the vaccine and I was not charged any fee for the vaccine.
Once I got to the vaccination station, a pharmacist asked more questions, and then administered the vaccine.
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The pharmacist was young, professional and volunteered the following information about the vaccination. He was vaccinated last week and had only the same symptoms as the flu vaccine – which is a sore arm. He shared that no one can walk in without a scheduled appointment because they need to thaw the vaccine. He showed me that the vaccines he had were labeled to be used by 12:15 p.m. that same day (my appointment was 6:25 a.m.). They thaw the number of vaccines to match the appointments made. He told me I needed to wait for 15 minutes after administration of the vaccine to make sure there was no reaction to the vaccine.
I waited in the appropriate physically distanced waiting area in plain sight of everyone. While in the waiting area, I was tasked with scheduling the next appointment for the second vaccine. I was given an appointment to complete this task. The window of time that was needed to schedule the next vaccine shot was 28-30 days from the first vaccine occurrence.
I was given a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card that had my name, the day’s date and the name of the vaccine, along with a code and the site where it was administered. I was told to keep this card and to bring this card back with me when I was to receive my second vaccine shot.
What about side effects? Three hours after the shot, I experienced a mild, dull headache which was handled easily with ibuprofen. There is also a little soreness in the left arm at the injection site.
The process was easy. And now, when it’s your turn, you know what to expect.