I have no excuse to claim that it was a humdrum day today. I got up, very reluctant to ditch my blanket for a down jacket, but my tryst with the booster awaited. According to my appointment calendar I was scheduled for 9:00am, so I arrived 30 minutes early, as this was my first time to get a shot at a public vaccination centre, unlike the previous ones where I went to my GP. It turns out I was way too early, because I logged the time wrong. The centre doesn’t open until 10:00 and this place was not exactly conducive to hanging out.
So I got back on the bus and took a ride downtown to shoot some street photos, which actually paid off, but that story comes in the next entry, along with the photographs! In any case, I returned just in time. The line moved quickly and with all the people supervising, there was nothing amiss. The first surprise was that the entire centre was manned mostly by soldiers. The army has been called in to run many of the centres, especially now that a general has been put in charge of the nationwide vaccination campaign. Sounded bizarre at first when I heard of it last November, but after experiencing it myself this morning, I can confirm it was a brilliant move. The soldiers look less than thrilled about their new assignments, but they did take an oath to serve the country, and this is definitely a call to duty.
Initially it felt more like facing the airport immigration instead of anything remotely medical. You are first sent to a counter and the man in uniform takes your vaccination passport, ID card and waiver before typing the information into the computer. Pretty much like immigration we all know and miss, one or two questions are fielded to confirm what you have written on the form, and then you are sent to the waiting area. There is a colour code being followed, so the ushers can identify whether you are here for a first, second or third (booster) shot, and assign the proper booth. Once you get your jab, the next step is to face another platoon and be issued a hard copy of the vaccination certificate as well as your QR code to upload to the COVID app. Again, it felt very much like border control rather than a medical centre, and I had to bite my tongue before asking for my boarding pass and inquiring about the chances of being upgraded.
My first two shots were BioNTech (Pfizer), but when I booked my booster, the only vaccine assigned to my age group was Moderna, so I’m curious to see what my reactions are going to be like. If you recall, I had massive insomnia after the first shot, and was drowsy most of the time after the second one. Even the medical practitioner raised an eyebrow at me today, and wished me luck. So far, other than a sore arm and drowsiness, nothing untoward has emerged.
It’s depressing to think that our lives have whittled down to a strange cycle of vaccination shot… we used to mark the passing of time with certain holidays, such as birthdays or New Year, but now we go from one COVID shot to another. Is that what our future is all about now? Living from booster to booster? Instead of updating the apps on your phone for the latest messenger version, it has now become imperative that your digital vaccination app is current, as well as your COVID tracker, everything else is secondary.