My Husband’s Experience Getting The First Dose Of The COVID-19 Vaccine

I am so grateful that Josh was able to get priority access to the vaccine. It has been a little over 24 hours since his first dose and I wanted to share what the process was like for him to prescreen, book, and get the vaccine. A little background in case you are new here. We live in Maricopa County, Arizona and Josh is a firefighter.

Our family knows so many people who have been impacted by COVID. Some have had minor cold and flu like symptoms or no symptoms at all, others have been put on ventilators, and many are still dealing with lingering symptoms months after being infected. Sadly some of these people have passed away.

I think all of us can agree that there are many differing opinions on getting the vaccine. Over the last few months Josh and I have had these types of discussion between ourselves. Many of these conversations also involved if I should get the vaccine. I had GuillainBarre Syndrome in my 20’s and there has been conflicting information if this vaccine would be contraindicated.

When I found out Josh would be able to schedule a vaccine in December I was so excited. Anything that we could do to protect him, our family, and those in our community I was all on board for. Josh said he would get the vaccine if I wanted him to but wasn’t planning to sign up for it at this time. That left me in a weird spot. I totally wanted him to be vaccinated but also really wanted it to be his choice. I began to drop hints, shared stories of other people we knew who were getting it, and hoped he would just sign up for it on his own.

He didn’t.

PRESCREENING, AZDHS ACCOUNT SETUP, & SCHEDULING

So several weeks ago when the state was in the middle of Phase 1A and only vaccinating healthcare workers I told him I really wanted him to get it. He did the online prescreening and we waited. Then several days before Phase 1A was going to end he got an email confirmation that said he could schedule his vaccine. He was on shift at the time so I did the account setup on AZDHS and booked his appointment.

Again I am grateful and so thankful to all involved that he has been able to be a part of this process. But the website is a little tricky to navigate. I had to try several different browsers, Chrome is what worked, before I could setup his account. Once the account was setup I was able to use Safari to schedule. This entire process to setup the account and schedule took an hour.

GETTING THE COVID-19 VACCINATION IN MARICOPA COUNTY

He got his first shot yesterday. It was also the day that our county moved into Phase 1B. Here is what his experience was like.

He arrived 15 minutes early for his appointment and here was the line in front of him.

For check-in he showed a QR code he received with his appointment confirmation, drivers license and also his employee identification.

The line moved quickly. Everyone stays in their car for the entire process and is masked at all times. There were multiple tents setup in two parking lots. One group of tents at one end of the parking lot which was for administering the vaccine and on the other side of the parking lot was another set of tents for volunteers monitoring for medical issues and to hand out follow up information. There was security monitoring the line and the National Guard was there assisting also.

Several firefighters in his department were assisting with check-in and he was vaccinated by a captain from his department (and coincidentally from his current station assignment). In case you are wondering he was administered the Pfizer vaccine.

He said the flu shot hurt worse and he experienced no stinging or burning when he received the vaccine. After he was vaccinated he drove his car into another line where he waited for 15 minutes. Easy peasy. He was instructed to leave the windows down and honk to alert those working if he had any complications.

In total the entire process took around 30 minutes. Which is fantastic! There was no waiting around in line, everyone was masked and in their own vehicle, and it is great that this part of the process is so streamlined. Now we just wait to get an email to schedule his second dose.

HOW IS HE FEELING AFTER 24 HOURS

Several hours after his shot he said his arm felt slightly bruised. It didn’t hurt or ache but just felt tender depending on how he moved his arm. And it was only localized to that one area. This morning the injection site is slightly more sore but nothing major.

Getting Josh vaccinated was the choice we made for our family. If Josh had been adamant about not getting the vaccine he wouldn’t have been vaccinated yesterday. There is so much misinformation out there about the vaccine even among healthcare workers.

Yesterday I was asking him questions about his experience getting vaccinated as we were eating lunch in our backyard and watching the kids play. He told me when I wrote this post to include that he initially wasn’t ready to get the vaccine when it was first offered to him. Stories like this are important and need to be shared. If you are a healthcare worker and weren’t vaccinated in Phase 1A but would like to do so you still can.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Yesterday evening I got a message from my Grandpa asking if I could help him figure out the registration system for getting vaccinated. My grandparents are in their 80’s and we have only seen them handful of times in their driveway in the past 10 months. He had been trying all day to register himself and my Grandma. We had told them if they needed help to call us.

I listened to how he had tried to register I told him he had done everything I would have tried. I saw an option on Josh’s account to register additional family members and told him we could try that. Thirty minutes later I had entered all their information along with insurance I.D’s., scheduled them both for appointments at the same time, and sent them their email confirmations. If you have already made an account on AZDHS and have family members who are having trouble scheduling or even accessing the website you might be able to book an appointment for them.

All in all yesterday was a good day for our family. Josh received his first dose and my Grandparents are now scheduled for theirs. I am feeling hopeful that in several months we will be able to spend more time together. Our plan is to remain masked when we do these visits and stay outdoors but I am looking forward to the kids being able to see their Great Grandparents for an actual visit as opposed to being in the car.

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Comments

  1. Question for you – and obviously this might be personal, but why would you continue wearing masks and meeting outdoors after your grandparents have been vaccinated? Is there thinking that you can still pass the virus to others even if they’ve been vaccinated? Or once you are vaccinated, will you not wear a mask around them? I’m just curious, as I believe most of us hoped that once people are vaccinated, the need for masks and meeting outside is almost 0. Thanks for your consideration and explanations in your posts!

    • Hi Erica,

      I don’t mind the questions at all :). Our hope is to be able to spend time with them and my parents after Josh and my Grandparents are two weeks out after their second dose. Which means everyone would hopefully be fully vaccinated by mid March. I am not anticipating being eligible for a vaccine until at least summer and I am still waiting for more information before I decide 100%. Also my parents won’t be vaccinated by this time.

      At this point I would like to take the vaccine if possible but again I am not even eligible yet so I still have time to decide and talk with my doctors more. From what I have read two people who are vaccinated are safe around each other but since I will not be vaccinated and our children will not be either our plan at the moment is to just be as safe as possible. Because Josh has been in close proximity with COVID patients over the last 10 months we are just ultra cautious.

      Have a great day and thanks for reading!

      • Ahh, that’s interesting about 2 people being vaccinated are safe to be around each other. That is a good point about the kids not being vaccinated, and at this point, they haven’t yet tested the first two vaccines on children, I think. I am with you on waiting to do more research on the vaccines, as I will also not be eligible to receive it until sometime in the summer, I’m guessing, as a healthy 36 year old. Thanks for your perspectives, it gives people lots of points to think about!

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