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My Shot

Started: 2021-04-15 20:52:50

Submitted: 2021-04-15 23:39:49

Visibility: World-readable

I am not throwing away my shot!

As winter turned into spring, I watched the COVID-19 vaccine roll out around the world and waited impatiently for my chance to get the shot.

My parents got their shots in January. My brother (a college professor, who might reasonably be expected to encounter undergraduate students in the classroom) got his shot early in the spring, as did our au pair (who could sort-of reasonably claim to be a childcare worker). As more people I knew got the shot, and as more of the counties around the Bay Area loosened their eligibility requirements, I began to feel vaccine FOMO. It wasn't precisely that I was worried that I was going to miss out on the vaccine, but that I wanted to have a date set in the future for when the pandemic ends and I can go to a restaurant and visit a museum and get on an airplane without worrying that I'm actually a sociopath for wanting to do fun things that I enjoy.

I am still worried about doing many things in public before I have all my antibodies (the idea of eating indoors at a restaurant still creeps me out), especially now that we're this close to the end of the pandemic. I'll probably pass on museums, too, no matter if they're allowed by health officials or how many safety protocols and one-way corridors they set up. I don't want to trip this close to the finish line of this grueling ultra-marathon — I can see it right there and all I have to do is keep it all together for another couple of months.

Sun sets over Lighthouse Point Beach
Sun sets over Lighthouse Point Beach

(Along the way I learned that my old zip code in San Francisco, 94112, was selected by the city as a priority zip code for vaccine distribution, because it contains the working-class neighborhoods of Excelsior and Mission Terrace and Oceanview, and the gentrifying neighborhood of Ingleside.)

Mission Terrace at dawn
Mission Terrace at dawn

Then on Tuesday morning this week — two days before California was scheduled to open the vaccine floodgates to everyone 16 and older — Santa Clara County started scheduling appointments for everyone who lives or works in the county. I live in Santa Cruz County but I have an office in Cupertino and I go there more than once every never, so I can totally say that I work in Santa Clara County; and that was enough to sign up for a shot.

(I saw this in a Slack channel at work dedicated to Santa Cruz, but the person posting it pointed out that most of us were likely to work (at least nominally) in Santa Clara County.)

I waited anxiously for my meeting to finish so I could devote my time to actually finding a shot, then I nipped over to Santa Clara County's vaccine registration site to try to get an appointment. First I had to choose the site I wanted from a laundry list of vaccination sites. Most of the sites were in San Jose in places I didn't recognize. I clicked on a site in Mountain View that had appointments available for Friday; then I looked at my meeting schedule for Friday and looked for another day. I found an appointment for Saturday afternoon at Levi Stadium, but I couldn't complete the registration for that slot because the actual registration page was embedded in a fixed-size, non-scrolling iframe. I solved that problem by opening the iframe in a new tab, picked a different slot on Saturday afternoon, and completed the registration for my appointment.

Only then, with my own appointment secured, did I post the link on Twitter. (I'm going to claim the airplane oxygen mask rule: Secure your own mask before helping others.) One of my colleagues saw my tweet and told a bunch of people — a super-spreader event that we can all get behind — and went himself to Levi Stadium that very afternoon for his own shot.

(All of this went down on the day that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was suspended because of a one-in-a-million blood clot, so I have every expectation that I'll get one of the two-shot mRNA vaccines, though I don't yet know which one.)

I am looking forward to getting my first shot on Saturday — and I'm really looking forward to five or six weeks from now when, just in time for Memorial Day, I have all of my antibodies and I won't have to worry about COVID-19.

Crescent moon over the Pacific Ocean
Crescent moon over the Pacific Ocean