But that doesn’t mean we’re all tired of sharing our personal experiences about it, right?
I’ve thought long and hard about this particular post, but in the end decided to go ahead and write it. As I write this, we’re in yet another surge (this one spurred by the Delta variant), with numbers of infections in many states higher than they were at the 2020 peak. There’s a lot of discussion going on about whether to get vaccinated or not, for all sorts of reasons. We’ve met people who got the shot (actually, I love that the British call it “getting the jab”) and those who say they will not. We have people we love on both sides of that particular debate, and I won’t be arguing for or against it here.
Instead, I thought I’d shed a little light on how one particular full-time RVing couple finally got their jabs.
When the Covid-19 vaccine started to become available, we were in Yuma, Arizona. Some RVers told us they were telling the medical people they were Arizona residents (using the RV park address) so they could get the vaccine. But we didn’t have a smart phone nor the handy-dandy app telling people the jab was available and letting them set an appointment right then and there. Without those apps, appointments were nearly impossible to get.
When we got to Pahrump, Nevada, we thought about driving to Las Vegas to get the Pfizer jab. Same thing. No appointments were to be had.
We kept washing our hands, using sanitizer, wearing our masks, then doubling our masks. We only shopped for groceries and supplies. We avoided RV park clubhouses and tried to keep ourselves healthy by hiking our favorite nearby hilltop.
As the weather warmed up we went north, stopping for awhile in eastern Oregon. The manager at the RV park helpfully provided us with the local phone numbers to set a vaccination appointment, but because we had to leave before we could get the three week follow-up dose, we didn’t start the regimen. 😦 So close!
We had a two-month stay reserved in far western Montana, and I vowed to set vaccine appointments as soon as we got there.
All that stuff I was hearing on the news had been true for us: hard to figure out where to get the shot, appointments filling fast when we found them. Now I was discovering how tricky it was to figure out what “eligible” meant: did we have to be citizens of the state or not? Would they ask? If they did, would they ask for a driver’s license or accept the RV park’s address?
I found an appointment in Idaho, then Bob found appointments in Kalispell. The Walgreens in Kalispell was offering the Pfizer vaccine, had two appointments available within the week of our arrival in the state, so we booked them.
It took us nearly two hours to drive to Kalispell from the RV park where we were staying, so we booked a hotel room for two nights: the night we got there, and the night of the vaccination, just in case we needed to lay low rather than travel that day.
I’ll make the story of our vaccination as brief as possible. Being very thorough people, and nearly neurotic instruction-followers, we stopped by the pharmacy the day before to make sure we knew where to park, where to go inside, and when to arrive. Fifteen minutes early for paperwork, we were told. Go to the window over there unless it’s closed, then come over here to this counter.
We arrived thirty minutes early, got our paperwork completed, then ended up waiting nearly an HOUR while they “processed the paperwork.” Usually the reticent one, I’d finally had enough and started demanding answers.
To shorten a long tale at least a little, our paperwork was ready, but the “window” people hadn’t talked to the “counter” people… Within minutes of demanding explanations, we were taken back and given the jab.
Bob didn’t feel it; I did, but no more than any other shot. Later I felt my arm (that “soreness at the injection spot”) but a couple of baby aspirin and I was fine.
We had Moose’s pizza followed by ice cream sundaes, then relaxed in the hotel room, watching the distant Rockies get a late-spring shower of snow.
The hotel experience was awful. We’d stayed there before while visiting Kalispell because they don’t permit dogs (our allergies mean we have to avoid pet-friendly properties), but this time the service was terrible: not enough towels or toilet paper, no shampoo, etc. etc.
So when we returned three weeks later for our second jab, we stayed at a different hotel and had a much better experience. We also were processed through the vaccination at Walgreens much faster and easier.
Side effects? Same as before. Bob didn’t even feel the needle go in (“Did she really give me the shot?” he asked me later) while I had soreness in my arm, maybe a little more than the first time, but nothing a couple of baby aspirin didn’t take care of.
Plus more pizza and ice cream. 🙂
I’ve often posted about how living on the road is different from living in a sticks-and-bricks house. Getting the vaccine and its follow-up shot is just another example of the extra challenges we full-time RVers face.
At least now we can say, “Whew! An extra layer of protection against a very deadly virus.”
But what about staying in areas where people don’t believe getting the vaccine is a good idea? We’ve learned having a good sense of humor is key. We tell them, “We’ve got the vaccine, so we’re now injected with the government’s tracking system.” When we add, “This means the government not only knows where we are but they know who’s standing nearby, you know,” they always back up to give us a little more space (social distancing is good).
Hopefully getting a booster vaccination will be a much faster, smoother process. We’ll let you know!