My COVID Booster Vaccination
Last updated: March 2022
In July, as stores, movie theaters, and restaurants opened up, and mask mandates in California were being lifted, fear of COVID seemed to slow a bit. I was cautiously optimistic as most of my family was now vaccinated, and the weather was beyond warm, being in the triple digits. As a family, we still wore masks in crowded places and tried to avoid such places altogether. COVID slowed for others, but my family is always worried about me.
COVID concerns with new variants
Most of the month passed unnoticed till about August 1. The Delta, Delta plus, and Lambda COVID variants were popular terms as only approximately 50 percent of the population was fully vaccinated in California. The variants seemed to spread like wildfire – ripping away at any consolation or breathing room I had just a few weeks ago.
As hospitals were gaining patients, schools started. I was baffled at the number of people against mask mandates in schools, hybrid learning was eliminated, and parents just had to face the grim reality that we are throwing our kids in the lion's den of COVID. Although I understand the notion of civil liberties, my youngest did not qualify for the vaccine due to his age. I had nothing but concern for his safety as it seemed that most individuals being hospitalized were minors. My concern for him also caused me a lot of anxiety about my health.
CDC recommendations for immunocompromised groups
I have been recently diagnosed with more liver issues and had no interest in gaining COVID as a part of my medical wrap sheet. Unbeknownst to me, on the week of August 9, the CDC released a statement recommending immunocompromised groups were eligible to receive a booster shot of the vaccine. Both my husband and I had our ears peeled, as this was something I knew I wanted. In my mind, I receive boosters for the Flu shot, and I was going to get the booster for COVID absolutely. Especially after the experiences of vaccine dose one and two being not so bad.
Sure enough, on August 14, it was approved for immunocompromised individuals to get the booster, and at 4:30 pm, I was scheduled for a booster appointment.
My COVID booster experience
This experience was more comical and less organized than the first 2 dose experiences. The online forms on CVS's website were easy and quick to fill out, as well as scheduling and making an appointment. I had already downloaded my digital vaccine card off of the CA.gov site. So all I needed to do was show up.
Once I arrived, the pharmacist asked to see my vaccine card. I showed him my SMART health card. He was more than confused at what I was showing him. I explained the card, and he stated he had no idea those were available or how to work it. So much for saving time. He looked up my information and disappeared behind the counter. A few minutes later, he asks me why I was there. I explained that I filled out all the forms online for the COVID booster. He walked away again, only to come back to tell me I had my second vaccine shot already. Oh Boy! This was going to be harder than I thought.
I explained that I understood that I had already had my second vaccination shot. I further explained that I was there for my scheduled booster. His response was, well, that’s only for those that are immunocompromised.
My husband, at this point, laughed, stating we have a case of the "you do not look sick" on our hands. I thanked the Pharmacist for the information and stated, "please look at my online registration. It should explain why I am here." Twenty minutes later, and after a whole lot of discussion, I finally got my booster. As he was finishing up, I got the "you're my first booster shot" comment. In my head, I thought I would have never known. Being proactive about my health is always an adventure.
For the most part, I had little to no side effects for this COVID vaccine round. My arm was sore for a few hours on the day of the vaccine, and I had a slight headache. A large contrast to dose 2. I experienced some fatigue about 24 hours after the vaccine. Then BOOM, life ran as normally as it could. This experience was very pleasant in comparison to the side effects of the second dose. I highly recommend talking to your doctor with regards to getting the booster. And maybe your experiences will be having few to no side effects too.
All in all, this was an entertaining experience. But with the infection rates being up, at least I will sleep better at night knowing I did all I could for myself.
Have there been things you have learned along your lupus journey that you wish had been explained to you by a healthcare provider earlier?