There are multiple options to get the COVID-19 vaccine, whether it be registering with the city or getting inoculated at a local pharmacy. But for some eligible residents, getting an appointment can be a real challenge.
In an interview with the Bayonne Community News, lifelong resident Thomas G. Szweada recalled his experience getting the COVID-19 vaccine at the Bayonne Community Museum. The city recently opened a second vaccination site, in conjunction with Mobile Health, at the museum to help eligible residents struggling to get an appointment.
Lots of appointments
Szweada registered at the website on Saturday, March 27. He got an appointment for Wednesday, March 31. Registration opens each Friday for appointments the following week.
After registering, Szweada was taken to a webpage to schedule an appointment. This was remarkable, as in most instances, registering for an appointment does not immediately lead to scheduling an appointment.
In fact, Mayor James Davis has asked residents who have registered with the city not to call back asking about appointments. He said that city schedulers will reach out to registered residents eventually and urged patience.
The museum site offers appointments on available Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. When Szweada went to schedule an appointment after registering, there was a slew of time slots for nearly every day.
Szweada chose an appointment at 1 p.m. After selecting that time, he received a confirmation email.
The day of
The morning of the appointment, Szweada received an email with a short medical questionnaire to complete before getting inoculated and was given a QR code to sign in with on arrival.
The email instructed him to arrive 15 minutes early and not to be late. At 12:45 p.m., he arrived at the museum, where he was greeted by personnel who quickly signed him in with a tablet using the QR code. There were no lines outside the museum.
Szweada proceeded to a table to present his ID and to fill out another brief medical questionnaire. He was then seated in a small socially distant area while he waited for his appointment.
After 15 minutes, Szweada was ushered to another area. He said there were three stations vaccinating residents simultaneously.
Quick and easy
At one of the enclosed vaccination stations, Szweada was given the shot in his left arm. He said the “warm and eccentric” nurse put him at ease during the procedure.
Szweada said the process of getting the shot was so quick, he thought that “there must have been a mistake.” There was no mistake. It was that fast and easy, he said, especially considering he usually is apprehensive about getting shots.
Following the shot, he was ushered to a waiting area where other residents who had already received the shot were sitting. The nurse who ushered him set a timer for 15 minutes for him to be monitored for any adverse reactions.
The 15 minutes came and went, and Szweada said he felt just fine. The only side effect is fairly common: soreness at the site of the injection.
Ready for the second dose
After the timer went off, Szweada got his vaccination card and went on his way. In total, it took him a half hour to get inoculated. According to Szweada, he is automatically registered for his second Moderna shot.
“I’m looking forward to getting my second dose,” Szweada said. “The whole process at the museum was quick and easy. Now that vaccines are widely available, and many people are eligible, people need to get vaccinated. Hopefully people use ‘COVID-sense’ and get their shots so we can get back to some semblance of normalcy.”
The site has not only been successful for him, but also for members of his family. His mother Christine was vaccinated at the site the week before, and his father Thomas was vaccinated on April 2. Both had similar positive experiences at the site after facing hardships getting an appointment at other sites.
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