I remember a number of years ago now when my 40th birthday was approaching. This birthday led to a lot of memories about my earlier days of teaching, and also how much I’ve changed over the years. Reflecting back made me feel old, or at least, so much older than I was when I first started teaching. Now 40 takes on a whole new meaning, for it’s the lower limit cut-off for the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Ontario.
When I first heard about the change in the vaccine age range, I still wasn’t ready to sign up. I’ve read many of the articles and tweets that said, “The first vaccine is the best one,” or something to that effect, but I think that I was hung up on the drawbacks of this one. What are the chances of getting a blood clot? Back in my teenage years, I had a blood clotting disorder, and while I don’t anymore, this was all that I could think about when I read about the platelet issues. Then on April 18th, my perception changed. I was scrolling through Instagram, and I saw some screenshots of tweets by Dr. Menaka Pai. Wait! I know her. I went to high school with her, and she was a great friend of mine during those high school years. These tweets took me to Menaka’s Twitter page, and a tweet about an article that gave me a new outlook.
I still didn’t book my vaccine yet, but I thought more about it. And I began to read more about the AstraZeneca vaccine and those that have had it. I also spoke to some people that I know — very important people in my life — who have not only had one AstraZeneca vaccine, but two. Maybe I needed to reconsider my stance.
I was on the fence, but leaning more towards booking an appointment, especially since no other vaccines seemed to be opening up for my age group. That’s when I began to add my name to waiting lists. Lots and lots of waiting lists. I thought of a Yiddish saying that my mom and grandma used a lot as I was growing up: beshert. It means “destiny.” What’s meant to be will be. If I get an appointment for an AstraZeneca shot before any others, then I’ll take it. This was when my teaching partner, Paula, told me about some appointment options close to home. While these pharmacies have online booking systems, they’re not working, so she suggested that I call. I did, and I got an appointment for Thursday afternoon. I rarely take days off, but I will take a half-day for this appointment. It might be the best use of a supply day ever. It really is beshert.
Yes, I’m still nervous. Needles always put me on edge, and the unknown possibility of side effects put me on edge more. But not enough to cancel the appointment. Thinking about my #oneword of the month, I want this vaccine for me, but also all those people that I care about, including our students and their families. This vaccine has the potential to benefit all of us, and it makes me feel as though this truly is the right thing to do. How do you decide which vaccine — if any — to get? Please keep sharing those selfies of joyous moments and memories. I think a few convinced me to re-look at AstraZeneca. What about you?