COLORADO SPRINGS — On Friday, March 26th, I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and wanted to share the experience. As a relatively healthy 52-year-old with no pre-existing high-risk conditions for COVID, I was a little reluctant to be vaccinated for a few reasons.
First, I want to recognize that getting a vaccine is a personal decision, and you should consult with your doctor if you have concerns. There are many ways to sign up to get vaccinated once your group is approved by the state of Colorado.
Being a UCHealth “My Health Connections” account holder, I was able to go on-line and indicate that I had become eligible, according to the state’s guidelines. About a week later, my app notified me on my smartphone that I could make an appointment. My first thought was that there are still many others who need and want a vaccine more than I do. But my doctor recommended I get one as soon as I had the chance.
Carolyn Carroll Flynn, RN, is the manager of UCHealth’s vaccine clinics in the south region and was there when I showed up at the Memorial Administrative Center’s vaccine clinic. When I expressed my concerns to Carolyn, she explained, “It is the right thing to get a vaccine; I would also say that as a frontline journalist you are exposed to a wide swath of people when you're out in the community. The fact that you are coming in and being vaccinated shows me that you are a good citizen.”
While there are differences in the three vaccines currently available in the United States, every healthcare professional I have asked has told me the right vaccine for you is the one they are giving when you have your appointment.
The fact that I don’t have a great love of needles, and I have relatively low concerns about getting COVID, I would have preferred the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. UCHealth was giving the Pfizer vaccine.
Carolyn told me, “All the vaccines that we are offering are good and offer a certain level of immune response. Both Moderna and Pfizer show 94% to 95% immunity after two weeks after your booster shot, and that's one of the highest levels of immunity in a vaccine”
My experience at the UCHealth vaccine clinic was that it was fast, easy and painless. Even on assignment and taking video of the process, I was in and out in less than 30 minutes, which included waiting 15 minutes after observation to ensure I didn’t have any side effects.
My left arm was a little sore the next day, much like I have experienced after a tetanus shot, but that was the only side effect I experienced. I am scheduled for my second dose and look forward to completing the process of doing what I feel is my part in helping my community along toward herd immunity.
To register with UCHealth to get on a list to receive a vaccination, visit www.uchealth.org/covidvaccine [uchealth.org]. Or, if you don’t have access to a computer, you can call their hotline at 720-462-2255.
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