This was supposed to be the week for getting my booster shot. It wound up happening sooner than I expected. I had had my previous two shots months ago and had resolved to get the third by the week after Christmas on a weekday so as not to disrupt a weekend if there was pain. However, on Saturday I was driving home and passed the Church of Christ on South Carrollton Avenue at Palmyra St. There were signs promoting free shots of any type and there were masked volunteers outside waving us in. One should always be suspicious of masked folks offering free things but I was impressed because this service was being offered by the Louisiana Department of Health as well as Ochsner Healthcare. That seemed like a trustworthy combination especially working from Christ’s church.
I told the masked woman outside that I was looking for a Pfizer booster and she confirmed they had that in their repertoire. Going inside I was given a form to fill out. I winced at first, not because of the form itself but because it was so long, fortunately many of the questions were about pregnancy.
After that, I was directed to a larger room where there was another trustworthy entity involved in the process, the Louisiana National Guard. A female Guard member signed me in and after noticing how worn my previous vax card had become wrote be a new one. She turned out to be extra useful especially when I was asked which arm should receive the shot. I wasn’t sure and I did not remember where my previous two shots had gone. But then I noticed that she was left handed as I am, so we had a brief moment of camaraderie among southpaws. “The right” she said, “because you will use the left more.” So, with the first response of a first responder my right arm was the assigned target.
Moments later, I was called to a table in a comer where another Guardsman, a hunky but genteel soldier, stood ready. In another day, in a different situation, this man might have been firing shots from an M16 rifle. On this day, he was administering shots from syringes.
With a minimum of pain and little time lost, the process was over. I was directed to a seating area where I was told I had to wait 15 minutes to be sure I was feeling ok. A nice lady brought me a sticker that said, “I Got the Shot,” and a button that said, “Bring Back Louisiana.” If I would feel pain from the shot the lady suggested lots of water and Tylenol. As this is written I have needed neither.
I might have fudged a minute to two on waiting my full 15 minutes and I suspect the lady knew that, yet she was forgiving enough to offer me my choice of a cookie for which, without the need for further consultation with the Guard, I chose chocolate chip.
On the way out, physically I felt good, emotionally I felt even better. “This is the way society should work,” I thought to myself. “Government, big healthcare, a church and the National Guard all united for keeping the people safe. I know there are some folks who do not believe in the vaccinations and that is another argument, but it is good to know that for those who wanted it the service was there.
In the early days of the COVID-19 shutdown, when there was first talk about global vaccinations, I worried that the process would be a mess. There would be complaints of inadequate supplies, discrimination and hardships for the poor, but let’s give the various governments involved credit, the process has gone smoothy. The biggest argument has not been over vaccinations denied but vaccinations avoided.
For those who have not gotten their shots, they should know that in addition to health preservation, if they play their cards right, they can get a free cookie. Oh, and remember it is still flu shot season.
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