YES! I am fully vaccinated and I am very very grateful to my LGU (local government unit) which is Makati for facilitating this program. I contemplated long and hard if I was going to use my asthma as co-morbidity. I was already told by my friends to use it, but I felt that I could still wait to get vaccinated. In my mind, there are others who need the vaccine more. I was really reluctant to use my asthma to get ahead. But then one incident made me decide to finally use it.
My children’s pedia told me I can use it, as long as I find an old prescription – I told myself that I won’t make the effort to look for it. Then I learned that a friend caught Covid – and that she had it for 3 weeks and up until we were messaging one another – she still had a hard time breathing. She showed me the number of pills that she had to take and that was a wake up call for me. I then went to a drawer and there I found my prescription that was dated February 18, 2020. I had this prescription made before the lockdown because I was fearing that I might have an asthma attack during the lockdown and I won’t have anything to help calm the attack. To be honest, the medicines that I bought before the lockdown – I wasn’t able to use, and they’ve expired already, haha!! 🙂
I really thought long and hard before I made myself an appointment and when I finally did the wait wasn’t very long. To be honest, I’ve had my apprehensions on getting the vaccine. I remember last year, when stories of vaccines were going around – I was very open that I wouldn’t want to get the first batch of vaccines because I was scared of the effects. You know, watching so many many zombie movies I’ve seen so much disasters when vaccines are administered when they’re still prematurely given while on the ‘testing’ stage. You can’t blame me for thinking that way, I think we’re all exposed to these kinds of scenarios.
But let me get this out first – I AM A BELIEVER OF VACCINES. I am vaccinated and so are all my children. I am all for vaccines, but what I’m worried about is the method that the vaccines have been developed. I know for a fact that vaccines need to have extensive studies and trials. And what happened with the #Covid vaccine was that it was hurried (In my own opinion) because of what is happening around the world. BUT THEN AGAIN, what do I know. I am just worried, it’s that simple. I have to be honest, I have a brand of preference when it comes to vaccine – BUT as they said – the best vaccine is the one you have on your arm.
My first vaccine was a breeze, I was in and out in 39 minutes. It was unbelievable! When I got there, there first question that I asked was ‘What brand of vaccine is being administered today?’ The volunteers said ‘Sinovac for first dose and if you’re on your second dose, we have Sino, Pfizer and Astra Zeneca’ The Makati Coliseum volunteers were very efficient and were upbeat and happy! I was nervous to be honest, because I really don’t like injections and needles – so their positive vibes rubs on you when you’re there. I found it really funny that they were announcing names like you’re part of a game show. It was funny and fun at the same time. When I entered the venue – there were volunteers that were assisting and pointing to where we should go.
When I sat down to the first table for my blood pressure to be taken, I immediately thanked the nurse administering my BP. I noticed that she looked tired, so I tried my best to cheer her up by saying thank you that she came in to do this for me, for us! And I felt her appreciate my words of encouragement. She then motioned me to go to the next step which was the consultation with a doctor. The doctor just asked me a few random questioned and signed my paper and then – I head to the table where I will get jabbed.
I was very nervous when I sat down, and before anyone could say anything – I immediately declared ‘Can someone hold my hand while I get injected?’ There was a united laugh with the people seated on my table, but I had to be honest! I was scared! And there was a nice nurse that came around to me and held my hand while I got injected. I thanked them profusely because they were able to make my experience bearable. After the jab, we were instructed to wait a while and then we headed to the post vaccine monitoring. We were seated for at least 15 minutes and when our name was called we proceeded to the table where a nurse would take out BP and another who would take our temperature. They were continuously filling out forms and asked us to sign them, and after signing handed us 10 pieces of paracetamol tablets and told us what to watch out for. I remember it very well ‘If you experience fever, please take paracetamol every 4 hours. If you experience pains, please take paracetamol every 6 hours’
That day when I got the vaccine, I felt that my left arm was so heavy. I had to drive myself home and it was a bit uncomfortable. I had a hard time lifting my left arm while I took a bath when I got home. That same night, I had a major headache. I rarely get bad headaches so I took a tablet of paracetamol and went to bed early. The next day the headache was still there but it wasn’t as bad. My left arms still felt a bit heavy. This went on for about a few more days. I realized too that I felt something like a brain fog – in Tagalog, it’s called ‘lutang’. But I’d welcome these symptoms compared to what my friends had to go through. This brain fog, I think lasted for about a week, I was a bit out of sorts to be honest but it was okay because getting the vaccine was important.
After 4 weeks, I had to get my second dose. Of course, I expected to have the same seamless experience that I had during my first jab. I did notice though, that more people were inside Makati Coliseum. We were all directed to go inside immediately – after they learn that we were there for the second dose. I made sure to do during lunch time, as I felt that there would be less people around and the process would be moving faster. Well, I was wrong.
It did take faster to be checked by the nurse (first check of the BP) but there was a line for the doctor’s consultation. I did see that there were less doctors on site. I then realized, maybe it was nearing lunch break that’s why there were less health care workers. I honestly didn’t mind the wait because, I had the whole day blocked just for this. I was expecting though, that things would be moving faster.
I think I waited a full hour from when I arrived until when I got in line to get injected. Comparing it to my first jab experience – the tables of healthcare workers where 60-70% empty. I assumed that maybe most were on their lunch break. But, it was okay, the waiting I mean. We were all comfortably seated inside the coliseum, the rains outside made me grateful that I was inside sitting and waiting. People around me were getting restless and it was understandable. I sometimes felt the urge to stand up to ask what was taking so long, but I stopped myself from doing so. I know, it’s not me – right? Well, I thought about this – everyone was wanting to move the process a bit faster but when I see the number of healthcare workers, I realize that I need to really wait my turn. If I was getting impatient, I needed to think about what the health care workers were feeling – I’m very sure that they’re all feeling so tired for doing that they are doing.
I finally got to the table where I was to be injected – I again asked for someone to hold my had and the nurse that came to me was very friendly and cheery. She asked me in a joking manner, how I want to be held – I then kidded with her and said, if she could hug me – which I knew was impossible (because of the distancing protocols) she then held my hand and told me to relax. I have to be honest, I felt the needle go in and I felt the liquid being pushed to my left arm. My left arm immediately felt heavy and I felt some warmness go through my arm. It was painful for me. Yes, it was painful – I don’t know, maybe I’m too sensitive, but it felt painful. I didn’t want to make sudden movements and kept my left arm relaxed, but every effort I made to move – there was an uncomfortable pain. I was then told to go to encoding, and then right after to go sit by the stands of the stadium. This for the final monitoring – post vaccine.
Upon sitting on the stands, I saw so many people sitting on different sides of the stand. I thought to myself, are these people done and just waiting? Well, they were not done – they were like me, sitting and waiting for our turn to be monitored post vaccine. Would you like to know how long I had to wait sitting on the stands? 2 hours. Yes, two full hours (and even more, I think). People around me were getting restless and bored and some were quiet while there were a few that you’ll notice that were getting really irritated. If the circumstances were different, I would also be on the ‘irritated’ people group. But that day – I was very very patient. The line going to the post vacccine monitoring really did take very very long. I was really itching to find out why it was taking so long, but I held my ground and sat (stood up for a while to stretch our my legs and body) and waited patiently.
I saw a few people go down the stands to ask the volunteers what was taking so long, and I saw that they were directed to a table where – they were given a piece of bond paper each and they wrote something, at lenght. Because I had time on my hands, I observed them from where I was sitting. I saw them receive a bond paper, and then sit down and they began to write things down. I honestly don’t know what they were writing, but I can guess that it was a waiver of some sort – because they were writing it lengthily – maybe they were following a format or something because it took them a while to writing while they were seated. I was tempted to go through that route but then I realized, I need to be part of the solution and not to try and jump the line to get done. I also thought that maybe it was waiver that released the LGU of any claims in case something untoward happened. Nope, I wasn’t prepared to do that. (Kindly note that I was just making a guess – this is NOT what really transpired. I am basing this narrative on the observations I made while sitting on the stands, bored out of my mind) A handful more people were doing the same – they were observing too and I think they wanted to get out – FAST. But as I said, I had time to spare to wait.
After two hours of sitting and waiting, we were finally called to go to the post vaccine monitoring. I then asked a volunteer on why it was taking so long. His answer was – KULANG PO KAMI NG NURSES SA POST VACCINE MONITORING (they were short staffed with nurses). What was then 10 to 12 nurses in a room was now cut into just 3 to 4. The volunteer also said that there were also too many people that day – and that it caused the delays to happen. Also, there were new vaccination sites that were opened by the LGU, thus the volunteers had to be split up to accommodate those vaccine sites. I knew the staff were tired, I could see it in their eyes but they were still there helping out.
During the post vaccine monitoring – my temperature was checked and so was my BP. Then I was given 10 tablets of paracetamol and given the same instructions as before ‘If you have fever, take paracetamol every 4 hours, and if you have aches and pains, take paracetamol every 6 hours’ On the way out, we were also given a box of Lola Remedios.
This pandemic has really affected our healthcare workers very much. I made sure to say THANK YOU to each one that I encountered and told them how I appreciate what they are doing for us. It made them smile, I needed to uplift them – you know, to make them feel better about themselves and the work that they do. It’s a thankless job, to be honest – but we need to thank them.
I would normally complain on these things – but because of this pandemic, I made sure to be more understanding. I extended my patience and thought that this wasn’t about me. It was about all of us in that coliseum getting protected. And that if it meant that I needed to wait longer, then I should do it. I am not the only one waiting – there were many of us. Who was I to hasten things up? I am sure the others around me had better things to do, we all did – but we showed up to get jabbed. So if they could wait – I am sure I am able to wait too!
These are unprecedented times and so we need to be more understanding of situations, especially in the health care department. I am just relieved to have received the vaccine – whatever brand it was, as long as I have it in my body – that’s good enough.
BUT before I end, let me be clear – these vaccines that we are receiving now from our local governments – THEY ARE ALL DONATED VACCINES. The ones purchased by the local governments have NOT arrived. THIS IS OUR RIGHT, TO RECEIVE VACCINES. We should THANK the LGUs for setting up the vaccine sites, but we should be MORE thankful fo the healthcare workers who are administering the vaccines.
To be honest, I am very very upset with who the government has been handling the pandemic. The Philippine president has made it seem like a JOKE to us, this is REAL. We have been on lockdown for the LONGEST time, and yet nothing is happening – we are NOT progressing.
PLEASE GET VACCINATED. No, it’s an excuse that you are scared of the side effects. Think of it this way – YOU WILL NOT DIE when you get infected with covid. It’s that simple. Do it for yourself and most especially for the people around you. Imagine the expenses you will have when you get infected, however mild.
PLEASE GET VACCINATED – it is your duty as a human being.