The COVID-19 vaccine experience

David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

My name is David Eckstein-Schoemann. I am a fellow Osprey at UNF and recently got my first dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine (on Feb. 15 to be exact). Several family members and I are diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, which classifies us as persons with high-risk medical conditions.

For those who have yet to receive the vaccine, this piece gives you an idea of the experience. We received our vaccines at Advent Health Orlando. While I wasn’t afraid, I still felt a little uneasy about the unknowns that awaited us.  We arrived at the hospital 15 minutes before our appointment. We parked in a packed parking garage and entered the building through the third-floor entrance, where greeters gave us name badges and we had to show proof of our appointment for the vaccine. We then went over the glass window causeway toward the hospital. Once we entered the hospital, we descended down a three-story escalator where I could see the line of about 30 people. I realized I was in the right place for the vaccine. Once on the ground floor, security verified our appointment and allowed us to get in line.

Courtesy of David Eckstein-Schoemann,

Thankfully, the hospital staff’s confidence and efficiency during the process made us feel at ease about receiving the vaccine. The hospital staff and security ensured that everyone was wearing a mask and maintaining a distance of six feet apart while they took our information and had us sign consent forms on clipboards. The line seemed to end at a double doorway where a guard directed us to go to stations where hospital staff entered our information in the computer. There we were given a vaccine card and were asked to put our name and birth date on the card. We were then directed to a large room where multiple tables, each manned by a person certified to give the vaccine, took our information and printed out a label, and placed it on our vaccination card.  The label contained the lot number and expiration date for the specific dose of the Moderna vaccine we were to receive. The worker also signed and dated our cards as having received the first dose of the vaccine. The vaccines were administered into our left arms (which was our arm of choice), as we are all right-handed who heard that the vaccine can make your arm very sore.  Once we received the shot we were directed to the next room, where we were given information about the possible side effects we could experience and what to do should we experience them. We were then directed to sit in one of the chairs (spaced six feet apart) and wait for 15 minutes in case of immediate side effects.  

As we waited, the staff gave us a link and instructed us to use our phones to schedule our next appointment to receive our second vaccine shot. For the Moderna vaccine, the second dose is given one month later so our appointment for the second shot is March 15.

I’m glad to inform everyone that only one family member exhibited moderate adverse side effects from the vaccine. The side effects included migraines, fever, chills, extreme fatigue, and body aches. The symptoms lasted almost three days. The rest of us had a mixture of fatigue and/or a mild headache that went away with Excedrin. My advice would be when you get the opportunity to get a vaccine, and you get your choice of dates, pick a date when the next day you can rest if needed. As for the shot itself, all we felt was some pressure as the injection was given. The next day our arms were sore and some of us couldn’t lift our arm without pain, but it eventually subsided after two days.

Overall the experience was safe, clean, and efficient and the staff was warm and knowledgeable. The whole process from start to finish took us all 59 minutes. It was an hour well spent.


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