And though I feel like the *last* person to be getting the vaccination, only half the folks in my county have gotten a shot, so I figured I’d write up the Northern Virginia Walgreens Pfizer Experience on the off chance it helps someone feel a little more comfortable about getting their vaccine.
First, if you’re looking for an appointment at Walgreens, set up an account with them first – it will save you some time when you’re actually scheduling it, and then you can download their app and have the info on your phone.
The appointment process was very straightforward and they scheduled both the first & second dose at the same time.
The appointment confirmation email will also have a link to a consent form you can download and fill out & print. If you do not have a printer, they have forms at the pharmacy, so you don’t have to worry about that.
When you get to the pharmacy, just go to the pharmacy window and they’ll take your name (they didn’t even ask for the appointment confirmation #, so if you forget to bring it, it’s OK.)
Then they take your consent form (or give you a blank one) and give you a printout that is the receipt for the vaccine, and you sit and chill out a bit until the pharmacist is ready to do the shots. We waited maybe 5-10 minutes. (We were early.)
The injection itself was super easy – I honestly did *not* feel it. The needle is very fine and short and there is not much volume to the vaccination itself, so you don’t even feel that icky burning sensation you get with some injections. The pharmacists smushes up your arm where the injection will be so they have a good squishy spot to do the injection – that is what I felt – it wasn’t painful, you just feel them smushing on your arm.
They then gave me my card, and told us to hang around for 10-15 minutes to make sure we didn’t have a reaction. We used this time to do a bit of shopping and hit the hardware store immediately next door. We then got lunch to go and went home and stuffed our faces with quesadillas, empanadas, and tacos.
The after-effects – those were pretty minimal. (Bearing in mind, this is dose #1.) I’m 49 years old, and reasonably healthy, if in need of more exercise.
Injection site: A bit achy, starting about an hour afterwards. Still feel it a little this morning. It’s not *painful* or continuous – just when I move my arm some ways, I go, “Oh, yeah, I got stuck there yesterday.” The best way I can describe it is if you’ve ever smacked your arm hard on a dresser corner or car door and you’ve bruised it and you don’t really think about it until you move your arm a particular way. I slept on that arm last night with no problems. I also massaged and moved around my arm as much as possible when I thought about it.
Fatigue: This is a tricky one, as fatigue is actually kind of hard to describe IMO. But, I would say, yes, there was some fatigue. I took a 2 hour nap after lunch, and I can’t say for sure if that was vaccine related, food coma, Friday after a long week, or a combination of all three. Between the nap and bedtime, I was pretty much parked on the couch with zero motivation to do anything. Crashed out around midnight, and I can tell you that was not normal as the Padres were playing the Dodgers and it was being broadcast on TV and I had to give up in the 7th inning. (They won!)
I slept like a rock for 10 1/2 hours. I’m glad I got the Friday appointment vs. another weekday, so I could sleep in this morning. If I *had* to work today, I could, but I wouldn’t be at my best.
Headache/Dizziness/Lightheadedness: Right before I took my nap, I did have a second or two where I felt slightly lightheaded. It could have been vaccine related, or I just was switching between phone screen & TV too much/too quickly and my brain was going “Stop it, asshole.” As I said, it was only a second or two.
I also felt some pressure in my head right around then – just a small bit, not even close to a headache or painful – just enough to be noticable and even then, probably only because I was VERY aware of everything my body was doing. Could have been vaccine related, or the fact that our pollen counts are off the charts here. It was gone by the time my nap was done.
Fever/Chills: None to speak of. There was one point after my nap when I was still upstairs and I was “Ugh, so hot” then I realized it was 78º upstairs (it gets very warm in the afternoon up there) and I was wearing a hoodie. Hoodie off, problem solved.
All in all though, not bad at all – the fatigue was really the biggest thing and there are worse things than needing to take a nap or go to bed earlier than usual and sleeping in.
I would recommend planning for a lazy 24-36 hours after your appointment. Honestly, you’ve earned it after this past year anyway.
Also, if there is a good eatery near your appointment location – treat yourself to something yummy for takeaway to celebrate.
The member of our household with the most pointed reaction to it all was the LilyMonster. “YOU BOTH LEFT THE HOUSE AT THE SAME TIME AND WERE GONE FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF!!!” Boy howdy, did we hear about that when we got back. For the rest of the day.
So, I hope this can help anyone who is a little nervous about that first dose.