My birthday was yesterday, and that marks the first day of spring each year – the vernal equinox. The weather was beautiful – 70 degrees and sunny, good for a long walk, so Brooke and I made a 4.5 mile loop around my neighborhood, stopping a few places for coffee, lunch, and groceries. And now today, in true Rocky Mountain fashion, it’s snowing.
I gave myself two early birthday gifts on Friday – a 90 minute massage from my usual Swiss massage therapist and the first dose of my COVID-19 vaccine. The massage was great, of course. But the shot was a much bigger deal.
Here in Colorado, March 19, 2021 marked the start of what they are calling “Phase 1.b4” of the COVID vaccination rollout. This phase is for people with one or more serious health conditions, plus anyone 50 years of age or older. And that’s me! By great fortune, I got an email from my doctor last week saying that she’s now getting in vaccines to give to her patients. So I replied ASAP and got on the schedule to get my shot the first day I’m officially eligible.
Side note: I’ve come to realize that eligibility for the various phases of the vaccination program has been and will continue to be purely on the honor system. In the previous phase, they didn’t ask anyone to actually prove that you have two serious health problems. And in the new phase, they’re not asking anyone to prove that you have one of the serious health problems on their list. You just say you do, and nobody actually checks anything. I guess it’s essentially a moot point now that the State of Colorado has announced that starting mid-April – in just three weeks – they’re opening up vaccinations for any adult who wants one.
Getting vaccinated was very bittersweet for me, much more emotionally charged than any other shot I’ve gotten. My father was on my mind. If the State of Texas had offered him a COVID vaccine a month sooner than they did, he would almost certainly be alive today. I’ve cried several times thinking about that over the past month, and cried again when I got my first shot. That’s the bitter.
The sweet, though, is that I’m hoping that this shot marks the beginning of the end of my personal COVID-19 story. Six weeks from now – two weeks after my second shot – I’ll be “fully immunized”. And another few weeks after that, all the adults in my life who want to be immunized will be immunized.