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My Wife And I Got Our COVID Vaccines…. Here’s What That Was Like For Us


Early last week my wife and I got our COVID vaccines and I wanted to take a moment to talk about what that experience was like as I got a lot of questions about it since posting this Tweet:

Here’s a recap of our experience.

First of all, there was booking the appointment. Now some friends of ours alerted us that we were eligible because we were 50 or over in a “high priority” postal code. I am going to assume that this might have something to do with the fact that there is an assisted living facility down the street from us that had a number of deaths that were due to COVID. That led us to booking an appointment with Unity Health to get our vaccine. Or at least trying to. It took three days of constantly checking the website to find a pair of appointments for us. When we did, we hurriedly booked them. One was for last Monday at the St. Joseph’s Hospital site in the west end of Toronto for myself. The other was for the next day at the St. Michael’s Hospital site in downtown Toronto for my wife. One thing that I did notice is that the booking site uses Cloudflare to stop denial of service attacks and provide load balancing. Presumably, to ensure that everyone gets a fair chance to book appointments. Thus my first piece of advice would be keep trying to book an appointment because appointments will become available. Once you book an appointment, which requires you to have your OHIP card handy, you get an email and a text message on your phone confirming your appointment. Make sure you read the email as it has a lot of handy info about the site you’re booked into. For example, parking info, whether there are washrooms available, and how early you should show up are all in that email.

On the day I had my appointment, I drove down to St. Joseph’s Hospital and arrived at the parking garage 15 minutes early. A five minute walk later, I got to the vaccine site. It was well signed and easy to find. Once I entered the clinic, I was greeted by a security guard who quizzed me about what time my appointment was. Once I replied, I was instructed to sanitize my hands and I was handed a paper mask via a pair of tongs to go on top of the cloth mask that I was wearing. I was then directed to a station where I was asked to show my OHIP card and I was quizzed about a variety of things including if I had COVID or I was exposed to anyone with COVID. I was then directed to a second station where I was quizzed again about the same items and I was asked to show my OHIP card again. After that I was asked to stand in line. There were five people ahead of me and there were clear places to show where you should stand to ensure physical distancing. I also noted that there was a booth where a woman was preparing syringes with the vaccine. Once the syringe was prepared, another person would pick up the syringe and escort the person at the front of the line to a booth. In my case, I was in line for a grand total of 5 minutes before being escorted to a booth. In the booth the Dr. quizzed me about exactly the same things that I was quizzed about by the first two booths that I had been at earlier.

I will say that they are thorough.

After that, I finally got the vaccine. Moderna in my case. Not that it really matters as the best vaccine is the one that goes in your arm. More on that in a bit. I was then escorted to a “recovery area” where I had to take a number and wait for 15 minutes to see if I had any reactions to the vaccine. The number was entered into a iPad which started an individual timer for me which is pretty slick. When my number was called, was escorted to a check out area where my information was confirmed including my email address and my cell phone number. I was then told I would get an email and text message when my next appointment was booked. I then left the facility. I wasn’t three steps out the door before my iPhone dinged and I got a text message saying that my next appointment was booked. It was booked for 112 days from last Monday. I know that because I asked Siri how many days it was until my next appointment.

Total time invested: 30 minutes.

Side effects? Well, here’s what my wife and I experienced:

So with that out of the way, I want to cover a few touchy points.

In closing, if I had to grade the whole experience, I would grade it an “A-“. The minus comes from the fact that I had to try really had to get appointments for myself and my wife. The rest of the experience was top shelf. And that was cemented by the fact that my wife had pretty much the same experience the next day at the St. Michael’s site for Unity Health. Thus if you are eligible for the COVID vaccine, I would recommend getting it as soon as you can. While the process requires you to invest some time up front, the long term benefit is going to be worth it. Which is we can get on with our lives sooner.

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