Covid Vaccination Anxiety

by John Delach

Thursday, February 4th was the day I was scheduled to receive my first injection of the Pfizer vaccine at 9:45 am. Mary Ann and I would be driving to the Westchester Community Center located in White Plains. We are already familiar with the facility. Mary Ann had made my reservation the previous Thursday evening on January 28th.

After giving the state’s representative all the necessary information to complete my reservation, Mary Ann had asked her: “Do you have a spot for me?”

“Yes, I do if you can make it to White Plains by 10:15 tomorrow morning.”

My wife grabbed it and we made our first journey the next morning. She drove and upon arrival, I asked a cop on duty where I should park. He directed me around a traffic circle and pointed out where the lot was located. I wished Mary Ann, good luck, we kissed and off she went. I started around the circle, but I was distracted by a pinging noise. Looking down I saw a message: “Key fob has been removed from the vehicle.”

Fortunately, I was able to explain my dilemma to the same cop. He asked me: “What does she look like and what is her name?”

 I replied: “Tall, blond, wearing a black down coat and her name is Mary Ann.”

 He bounded up the steps while I called her. He and I reached her at the same time and a few minutes later he returned with the fob. Less than a half-hour later, she was back sporting a band aide on her right upper arm and a sticker that said she’d been vaccinated.

As my daily countdown to the following Thursday progressed, my anxiety increased at the same rate as the number of days remaining decreased. A major snowstorm began on Sunday night that dumped about 15 inches of snow on Long Island before it departed late on Tuesday. This added to my anxiety, although having Wednesday as a clean-up buffer helped.

On V-day, my radio alarm went on at 6:15 am. I was already making my bed and the first sign of trouble came at 6:18 when the WCBS traffic reporter, Tom Karminski, already off the ground and being flown in Chopper 880, began his report with a three-car wreck on the south bound lanes of the Hutchinson River Parkway. All three lanes to traffic were closed at Pelham Parkway. This was bad news as we would be passing that spot going northbound in less than three hours.

Fifteen minutes later, morning host, Scott Shannon, called on reporter Steve Kathan, who was doing a remote report from the Westchester Community Center in White Plains: “Good morning Scott. We expect a crowd to be present here today as the county has announced that people who missed their appointments due to the snowstorm closing the center on Monday and Tuesday can begin to return today to get their vaccinations. George Latimer, the county executives, has asked the folks scheduled for today to practice patience should they encounter crowded conditions”

I do believe I would have freaked if we hadn’t already experienced how smoothly run this facility was the previous Friday. Instead, we consoled ourselves to be patent no matter how chaotic it turned out to be. We left the house at 8:30 with Mary Ann at the wheel of her Jeep. The accident on the Hutch had been cleared and traffic flowed freely allowing us to arrive at the center just about an hour later.

There was a line, but nothing like I feared. It only took me 15 minutes to enter the building. After that, things proceeded like clockwork as I proceeded from station to station until a guide led me to a cubby hole of a room where two women began to process me. In a matter of minutes, one woman filled out a form, rolled up my left sleeve, dabbed a spot with alcohol and injected the Pfizer vaccine.

My first shot was over, just like that. I was directed to a room and told to find a chair. “You can leave at the time written on the sticker I placed on your shirt.”

The sticker said 10:17 and a digital clock read: 10:05. I called Mary Ann and told her I would be out soon. She was both surprised and ecstatic and so was I.

Two more trips to go for our second doses and then this will be in our rearview mirror.