So there I was, at the mall in the middle of the day during a lunch break waiting for my second Fauci ouchie (aka dose of coronavirus vaccine). It was strange to see how much the vaccination operation of the Health Department of Jefferson County had shrunk compared to my first dose. It went from the county fairgrounds to an empty store at the Johnson Creek outlet mall.

The nurse administering the shot congratulated me on finishing the vaccine series and asked if my friends were getting vaccines. I gladly told her yes and mentioned I was looking forward to getting to see them again.

This time there were pins and stickers declaring your vaccination status; I grabbed a pin. Something tells me if someone makes a 2021 time capsule, the vaccine stickers and pins will be included.

Again, I scolded myself for not bringing a book to read during the 15-minute waiting period immediately after getting the dose of vaccine. My arm was a bit sore, but, as I expected, no severe reaction

I decided to be proactive and take some PTO for the day after my second COVID-19 vaccine, just in case I ended up having a more severe response to it than a sore arm.

I kept expecting to feel slightly miserable on Friday. And I did, but not because of my vaccine. My allergies have started to flare up and I’ve been trying to treat my eyes and keep the balance of taking the antihistamine drops that stop the itching and the eye drops that combat the dryness caused by the antihistamine. Honestly, I will take sneezing and rash caused by allergies over itchy eyes any day.

I considered myself lucky that I didn’t feel sick after getting my second shot. I’d heard from some people the day after dose No. 2 was a doozy where they could barely leave the couch and spent most of the day sleeping through what felt like a miserable flu or stomach bug. Allergies are bad enough on their own, so adding on being really sluggish and achy mixed with other physical pains would have put me on a miserable path.

Now that I’m vaccinated, I’ll have the two-week (or, one week as of this newspaper) wait period before I’m cleared to spend time with other vaccinated friends and won’t have to worry about passing COVID-19 among the group.

At my vaccine appointment, I was even given a handy sheet of paper with recommendations from the CDC on what I could now do that I’d gotten my series of shots. I can visit a private setting maskless with other fully vaccinated people, visit a private setting without a mask with one household who are unvaccinated who are not at risk for a severe illness, travel domestically without a pre- or post-travel COVID-19 test, travel domestically without quarantining after travel, travel internationally without a pre-travel test depending on the destination, and travel internationally without quarantining after travel.

It was recommended that I not visit indoors maskless with people at an increased risk for severe illness or attend medium or large gatherings. Though not on the list, the nurse administering my shot reminded me, it was still important to wash my hands and to wear a mask in indoor public settings.

“Don’t worry, washing my hands was something I did even before COVID-19,” I reassured her.

I know I can still get coronavirus even with the vaccine; it isn’t a miracle cure that completely protects me from the virus. But, if it means life can get back to some semblance of normalcy, I’m glad I took the shot.

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