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Got my second dose. Whew!

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I wasn’t ready for how emotional getting my second vaccine shot made me feel.

When I told Marilyn about it, over the phone, I wept.

I took BART down to the Oakland Coliseum, where Alameda County has been giving the injections. For my first Pfizer shot, last month, I took the shuttle bus from the station to the tents, but this time, in less than half the time, I walked across the Sky Bridge that leads from BART directly to the Coliseum parking lot. At the far end, they’d set up the first of many stations through which we injectees (is that a word?) had to pass and show our little vaccination cards. I was in a good mood, having waited to long for this to happen. The station was presided over by a woman in National Guard garb. She asked me why I was there.

“To see the Oakland A’s!” I replied.

“What? What are you talkin’ about?”

“The A’s! The baseball game!”

She looked at me with dubiousness. “Hon, what baseball game?”

“I’m sorry,” I said, repenting. I showed her my card.

“Why you messin’ with me?” she asked.

“I’m sorry,” I repeated. “I’m just happy.” All was well after that. Sometimes, I admit my sense of humor can be a little warped.

The National Guard, FEMA, Health & Human Services and other uniformed men and women were superbly organized, as they were last time. The tents were almost empty, which surprised me. The site was reportedly vaccinating 8,000 people a day. Several of the men who guided me said they figured that the weather forecast of thunderstorms had scared people off. But the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day.

I got my shot from a young, blond guy from the National Park Service. He said he’d been transferred to Oakland to help from his base at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park. I asked if he’d volunteered and he gave me a rueful smile. No. But he wasn’t complaining.

The feeling of being fully vaccinated is liberating. I wanted these shots so badly. I’d tried so hard, all during January and February, to get them, but no one would let me. Kaiser was only doing frontline staff and 75 years and up. Even though the State of California was allowing people over 65, there just wasn’t enough vaccine. When I learned that Alameda County had opened their online site to register for the Coliseum, I got myself an appointment—I think the first was Feb. 19. But knowing that two shots are required, I still didn’t feel safe. Now, I do.

I’d like to thank the Federal government for running the Coliseum site so superbly. I’ve never seen anything better organized. The uniformed men and women “volunteering” there had all been well-trained, evidently, in their personal conduct. Every one of them greeted me with a big smile and “How are you doing today,” and it didn’t seem perfunctory, but genuine. I’ve always had great respect for our people in uniform who serve us in so many ways. I now have more respect than ever.

I don’t understand the sizable portion of the American people who won’t get the vaccine. I think they’re mentally ill. I suspect most of them are Republicans. If there’s one person I blame, it’s Trump. He instilled a distrust of science and of the vaccine in particular and he played to his supporters’ ignorance and anger. Why would he do that? What could possibly be the motive of the most powerful person in the world to convince people not to get a vaccine that would save their lives and the lives of everyone around them? Did Donald Trump want Americans to die? Given what we know of his sociopathic nature, the answer may be “yes.”

I was a little worried in advance of #2, because Marilyn, who also got Pfizer, had gotten quite ill for two days following her second shot: fever, chills, aches, weakness and fatigue. There had been a news story that more women are getting severe reactions to the vaccines than men. But I had no reaction at all, save for some tenderness at the injection site on my arm.

I hope you all get your shots, if you haven’t already. And I hope you’re all as relieved as I am when you do. It’s a great feeling. Yes, our country, and my state, fumbled a little bit at the outset, but what did anyone expect? Perfection? This was a novel coronavirus; it had never happened before, and never before did our country have to mobilize to develop a vaccine, manufacture it, distribute it, and get it into the arms of hundreds of millions of Americans. All in all, we did a great job, of which we should be proud!

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