Joining Team Moderna in Chatham-Kent

Syringe and Vials

Written by Tom Slager

May 15, 2021

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Getting Jabbed in Chatham-Kent

Chatham-Kent Team Work Hands

Yesterday, I joined Team Moderna, receiving my first dose of the Covid-19 Vaccine.  As much as I wanted to get the vaccination, I will admit to a little anxiety between my needle phobia and the unknowns of a relatively new vaccine.  In general, I trust my doctor and nurse friends, my actual doctor and the medical community as a whole.  I figure that one jab has to be better than how a person feels after contracting the virus.  I base that assumption on watching a few friends and family go through actually contracting Covid-19.      

Chatham-Kent Public Health should get a real pat on the back for how well they have organized this mass vaccination attempt.  I got my shot at the Bradley Centre and was in and out in a half-hour.  From start to finish, the process is easy and full of helpful people who want to keep the lines moving.  For those who may be hesitant, or have anxiety from not knowing what to expect, what follows is my experience. 

About a week ago, I was finally eligible for the vaccine.  I visited the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit’s website and registered.  Eventually I was able pick a clinic location and time.  There were a number of days to scroll through before I found an open time slot.  Be aware that CK Public Health uses a registration system that was designed for commercial uses, so don’t be put off by the final registration page that asks for a credit card number.  You don’t have to put anything in, just finalize your registration. 

An email comes shortly to confirm, and then another one the day before to remind you.

Yesterday was my day, and I arrived about 15 minutes before my scheduled jab time.  At the Bradley Centre, you just go in the big main doors to the foyer.  I was greeted by a person with hand sanitizer, then asked to walk the waiting line maze.  Along the way they have a couple of people who will screen each person for Covid symptoms.  They have cards with the questions printed out, but after months of practice my screener just did it from memory.  Once screened, I waited to see another staff member in order to check in with my health card.   

Everything else takes place in the cavernous exhibition hall.  There is another waiting line maze where people simply follow the arrows and stand on the social distancing dots.  Eventually I was directed to a registration table where I was asked for my health card again.  Once done, it’s off to another line to get the vaccine. 

There is a long line of stations that run along three sides of the hall, so there are lots of people getting their shots all at once.  Staff with flags guide the next person up to an available station.  Here a nurse who asked a few basic questions about my overall  health and any known bad reactions from the past.  And then I got the jab.  

I don’t like needles, but I have to say this one was easy.  I barely felt it.  Soon it’s was over, and the nurse wrote out a sticker with a time on it.  She even drew a little smiley face on it, too.  What follows is a 15 minute waiting period to make sure there is not immediate bad reactions.  For this, they have chairs set out in the middle of the exhibition hall.  People simply pick a chair and read a book, meditate, or rediscover Angry Birds on their cell phone.  A staff person came by to check on me a couple of times.  The waiting area has a number of TVs displaying the time, and when the TV time matched the sticker time, I was good to go.  

From there, it was on to a checkout and that is where I received my covid receipt.  This piece of paper shows what vaccination was given and has instructions for when to schedule the second dose.  For Moderna, it looks like they suggest registering in August.  Another staff person gave me a dose of hand sanitizer and off I went.  From the time I arrived to the time I left was about 30 minutes.  I never had to wait very long for any of the various stations and stops in the process.  

I know that Chatham-Kent Public Health has had a number of months to smooth out their system, but it was still impressive how quick and easy this goes.  Also If you have mobility issues, make sure you tell someone right away, and they will get you taken care of so you are not stuck on your feet. My wife also went yesterday, and she was fast tracked through because of her mobility challenges.  

What about side effects?  For me, my arm was tender at the injection site for most of the day.  As I write this on the morning after, it’s still a bit sore, but better.  Side effects, of course, are going to depend on the person, but a little bit of soreness in my upper arm is something I can live with.  

Hopefully, this little detailed chronology of my experience at the Vaccination Clinic will help alleviate anxiety from those who don’t like to go to unfamiliar places or find that needles give them anxiety, too.  I found the process really was quick, simple, and virtually painless.  Whether you end up on Team Pfizer, Team Moderna, or Team Astra-zenica through a pharmacy, you are doing your part to get our lives back as close to “normal” as quickly as possible.  Don’t let your anxiety keep you away. It’s easy, and now you know what to expect. 

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