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Published February 16, 2021

My short vaccine chase

By John Toth / The Bulletin

We left messages looking for a place that would at least put us on the list for the COVID-19 vaccine, then settled in for the long wait, or so we thought.

The next morning the phone rang. It was the Brazoria County Health Department wanting to know if we could go to the Angleton clinic as soon as possible for the first shot.

That was quick.

“Can we go in about an hour?” I asked.

“That’s perfect,” said the caller, and we made the appointment.

We wanted to rush down immediately before they changed their minds, but we had just started breakfast, and it was going to take at least that long to finish and get ready.

I didn’t think to ask which one they had, Pfizer or Moderna, but at this point, I didn’t really care, as long as we got one of them. As it turned out, the county got the Moderna vaccine.

As I was getting ready, I was thinking of how this could be the beginning of living normal again. I knew that we would still have to wear masks and adhere to all the other COVID-19 protocols, but now there was light at the end of the tunnel.

I have fallen twice into some sort of virus that seemed a lot like COVID-19, but without all the symptoms. I never lost my sense of taste or smell, but I had the high fever, chills, joint aches and some congestion during the first one.

I didn’t get tested for COVID-19 for it because there was no such thing yet in November 2019. The virus had not been identified. A bunch of us just got sick. I got over it in about a week and the coughing in about two more weeks.

Sharon went to the doctor with congestion and breathing problems, and it took her about a week on some strong steroids to get over it. Nobody guessed that this could be COVID-19. Our doctor said the office where he practices had seen some other patients with the same symptoms, but the doctors didn’t know what it was, but they were treating it as a respiratory illness.

In November, 2020, I started feeling the same symptoms without the congestion. I also had a cough that lingered for about three weeks. I was tested this time, and it turned out negative. Could this have been a cousin of COVID-19? But at the time those mutations supposedly had not reached the USA.

But I still felt bad.

The doctor suggested a combination of over-the-counter medicine and rest. The rest was easy. I slept for most of the day. I took the magic over-the-counter potion and started feeling better. Sharon never showed any symptoms, although I was sure that she would be next in line.

As the nice nurse inserted the needle in my arm to vaccinate me, I felt a sense of relief that the threat from this deadly virus would start to diminish. In time, we’ll resume our excursions and maybe even take in a baseball game - if they let me in.

We may have been at the right time and place to gain access to the vaccine and just got lucky, or maybe there was a higher power at work. I hope that the distribution and manufacturing problems will soon be resolved, and the vaccine will become available to anyone who wants it.

The first shot was done, and the second has been scheduled.

There were no side-effects after the first shot, although some of my friends had COVID-like symptoms for a day or two.

That’s probably the extreme, but still much better than being admitted to ICU or put on a ventilator.

“Now you can go out to eat and celebrate,” said a nurse after we got our shots.

“Not yet,” I responded. “After the second shot.”

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)