San Francisco, CA

I Got the Covid Vaccine in San Francisco. Here's What It Was Like.

Geoffrey Greer

The only way out is through.

Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash

Have you been wondering what it is like to get vaccinated in San Francisco? Wondering what to expect when you go into a clinic or other location that offers vaccinations? You're not alone! There are many people who want to know more about this process and how they can prepare for it, so here we will explore some of the information that might be helpful for those considering getting the vaccine in San Francisco.

I started by focusing on the rules. On March 15, San Francisco opened up the Covid vaccine to many more people. Now people older than 16 can get the vaccine provided they have certain comorbidities. And people who are in certain job categories can also get the Covid vaccine.

Once I found out that I qualified, the next thing to do was register. In order to be vaccinated in San Francisco, you need to make available your medical records from your physician or other provider of health care so they can confirm that you are eligible for vaccination. Or you can be pre-approved before arriving at the vaccine site. You'll also need a photo ID like a California ID, a driver's license, or a passport.

I then checked with my PCP (personal care physician) to see if they would write a letter for me. In my case, they did not but I was able to register directly with my health insurance where I indicated what job category qualified me to get the vaccine.

There are some things you should know before getting the vaccine:

  • if you're allergic to some of the substances in the vaccine
  • whether you have any other medical conditions that might affect your safety and eligibility for vaccination
  • what happens if you need emergency care shortly after receiving the vaccine

Then, on a magical day that I will remember forever, my health insurance emailed me and told me that a first dose of the Covid vaccine was available to me! I rushed to click on the button and make an appointment. Here's how busy the vaccination site is: My computer froze while I was making the appointment and I had to reboot. This caused all of the appointments that I wanted to be taken, and I had to register for an appointment a full half-day later!

I was a little nervous and excited for my first vaccine, but also kind of worried about the wait. I've had to go through hours of traffic for other shots before, so I wasn't sure how much time I should budget for this one.

I went to the same site where I got my flu vaccine. When I got my flu vaccine, there were no appointments. It was first come, first served.

I arrived 15 minutes before my appointment and there were plenty of cars ahead of me. I got to hang out in my car and listen to a podcast. As I got closer, I was able to see more details about what was happening.

Finally, it was my turn. I handed over the information -- my health insurance card and my driver's license -- and the process started! It was really straightforward. There was a table with a medical worker who asked me some questions and I answered them.

I finally got my vaccine shot. But it was not yet time to go. I had to wait another 30 minutes to see if there were any adverse reactions.

And then I was finally ready to go! What an incredible experience. Nearly a year to the day when San Francisco locked down, I was out of the wilderness and free as a bird.

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