Certain populations, such as people of color, persons with underlying health conditions and pregnant women, are worried about Covid-19 vaccines and remain hesitant to get them. Just like a lot of people, I was worried about the possible side effects and the scheduling procedures too.
Like most college students, I was worried if I would be able to get vaccinated and I also had a hard time navigating through the process of accessing the vaccine. I was also concerned about my mother who is diabetic and has high blood pressure. I wanted her to be vaccinated and protected. When I saw social media posts from faculty members and students getting vaccinated, I wanted to know how I could get it too.
But it all changed when an official email from UAB explaining the vaccination procedures arrived on April 2.
On April 1, the vaccinations became available to everyone 16 or older in Alabama and UAB promptly reached out about this to its students with a thorough email. The email consisted of clear guidelines for registration not just for students but also for community members. The links in the email worked perfectly, and the form was easy to fill. I was readily able to register myself; I still thought it would take a long time to hear from them.
Only two days after my registration, UAB sent an email with my appointment, and I was thrilled. The emailed asked for a one step confirmation and also provided parking details and directions to Margaret Spain Auditorium of UAB Medicine.
For people who might need help, UAB gives an option to register with another person. I knew how important that was for my mom, who struggles with English as a second language, when she was able to schedule the appointment with my sister. The form also offers to choose convenient times and locations.
When I reached the Margaret Spain Auditorium, I was welcomed and asked to go into the line and fill out a simple form while I waited. Everyone on site was wearing a mask and the line was socially distant. In about three minutes, it was my turn. I went inside and checked-in. There were masked and socially distant personnel for guidance. I went to my vaccination station and got my shot. To my surprise, it was not painful at all.
I was given a timer set for 15 minutes and was directed to sit in the auditorium. When I asked what the timer was for, the nurse said, it is just to see if there are any adverse reactions so we can provide help. This particular step spoke to me of true care. When my timer beeped, I left it in a bucket and could leave.
After the procedure, I could feel a sense of protection. The whole process did not take more than seven minutes, excluding the 15-minute waiting period. I was impressed to see how planned, well-organized, and smooth the process was. The seats were marked according to social distancing protocols and mask wearing was enforced.
UAB’s care didn’t stop there. The next day, I received an email with a healthcheck asking if I had any reactions or problems after taking the vaccine. I did not have any adverse reactions. I only had a sore arm for a little while, just like after taking any regular shot.
If you are someone who cares about life of people around you, you cannot just motivate them but help them through the process now. Now, you don’t need to worry about long hours of waiting and an extraneous process.
UAB has made it easy, accessible and swift.
Despite the fear of potential side effects, I chose to get vaccinated because my mild symptom of a sore arm for a day or two outweighs the impact the vaccine can have— it can save millions of lives. As responsible members of the community, I believe that we should feel obligated to keep ourselves and our friends, family and neighbors safe. Especially now, with organized procedures and plenty of appointments and locations to choose from, we shouldn’t have an excuse to avoid vaccination against Covid-19. Together, we can be Covid-free by getting vaccinated.