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While the health deparment requests no photos to be taken, I asked staff if it was okay to take a quick selfie after getting the vaccine as I was sitting in the hallway waiting for my 30 minute timer to go off.

I made the decision to get vaccinated for COVID- 19 as I have several underlying health conditions that have put me in the high risk category according to the CDC.

 In the last year, I had to be tested three times for COVID 19. All these tests took four to five days to get results back. During these times I would quarantine in my home and miss work. This took a toll on me. It was not knowing if I had the virus, not knowing if I had given it to someone else, unsure how to pay my bills with missing work. Luckily, all three times my results were negative but missing work put a strain on me financially. These experiences made me want to do everything possible to protect myself and those around me.

I put my name on the waiting list back in January to get vaccinated when my tier came up. This process is relatively simple and done online. 

After waiting two months, I received an email and was able to schedule my first round of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID 19 vaccine at the Taney County Health Department in Forsyth for Friday, March 5.

I had initially misread my email, and thought I was to arrive at least 15 minutes early. This is not the case. After rereading it right before I left my home I noticed it said do not arrive more than five minutes before your appointment.

I arrived at the TCHD in Forsyth about 10 minutes prior to my scheduled appointment. Even in the cold light rain, there was a line in front of the building as people made their way to the different stations, basically folding tables being manned by one to two workers. I took my spot in line. The line moved pretty quickly and everyone was wearing masks while respecting the personal space of those around them.

The first station was basically a check in station divided into two areas for people with last names starting with either A-K or  L-Z . I moved up to the L-Z area. I told them my name and my appointment time. They asked for my ID and if I had health insurance. I was given a sheet of paper with all my pertinent information taken from when I signed up online.

At the second station I had to sign the papers to agree to treatment. This is the same type of papers that they have you sign at the doctor’s office and hospitals.

At the third station I got my vaccination card and was given my appointment for my second vaccination, which has to take place in three weeks.

The final station I was asked about any allergic reactions I have ever had. As I have had an allergic reaction that has caused anaphylactic shock in my past, I received a green sticker to make everyone aware of my history of allergic reactions.

A quick temperature check at the door, a worker looked at my papers and then instructed me to follow the yellow Xs, taped to the floor, down the hallway. I was handed a two page informational sheet on the vaccine I was getting at the end of the hallway. Even though I had already done lots of research about it myself, I was grateful for the information. I waited at the end of the hallway for about two minutes before they had a room for me.

Walking to the room the nurse asked me to wait outside while she finished sanitizing the area from the last person. After she was done, I took my seat. The nurse made small talk with me as she was getting everything ready, then she plunged the needle into my upper arm. It stung a little but nothing more than any other vaccine or shot. The nurse took my papers, signed the vaccination card and placed the medical history sheet in her stack. She then returned my vaccination card to me and instructed me to the end of another hallway.

There a man was giving out timers for either 15 or 30 minutes based on your medical history with allergic reactions. I was handed a 30 minute timer and instructed that when the timer went off I could place it in my seat and leave. I took my seat amongst my fellow vaccinated. 

The chairs were at least six feet apart and everyone was still wearing masks. A couple workers were busy sanitizing chairs and timers as people left.

 A nurse came by and asked how I was doing. I told her okay but my arm was a little sore. She said that was normal and checked my timer. She let me know if I had any problems, if I felt dizzy or itchy to let her or one of the others know. Then she moved to the next person telling them the same. 

I sat there watching as timer after timer went off around me. People would get up, place their timers on their chairs and leave. I scrolled the internet while I was waiting; 30 minutes seemed to take forever, I think mainly because I was bored. Finally my timer went off. I stood up, placed my timer on my chair and walked out the exit. 

The side effects of the vaccine did hit me pretty hard in the first few days. My arm is sore, very much like when I have had to get a tetanus shot. I was very tired and had some stomach issues for a few days but nothing that kept me from work. Now I just wait for the second round so that I can feel more comfortable being amongst people once more. 

I want to thank the TCHD for doing such an efficient job. They were friendly but also moved people along in a very timely manner.

If you have questions about the vaccine visit https://covidvaccine.mo.gov/facts/ for more information. If you wish to be placed on the list to get a vaccine from the TCHD you can visit https://www.taneycohealth.org/covid19-vaccine/.

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