What a difference a couple of months can make! In February, to receive my COVID vaccination, I first had to wake up in the middle of the night just as new appointments were released on the Walmart website to secure a time. Then, I drove over an hour away to Brent, Alabama to get my shot.
The folks at the Brent, Alabama Walmart were great, and I’m happy I got it done. When news that kids aged twelve and up now qualified for the shot, I jumped on it for my teenage daughter.
She started her first year of high school in the middle of the pandemic. We chose the in-person option, and have no regrets. There were a few quarantine close calls this year, but she did not catch COVID. In fact, she made it through the entire year without being quarantined or getting sick. The protocols for masking and social distancing appeared to work.
We knew we didn’t want to delay vaccinating her. She has a good friend with a compromised immune system that she hasn’t been able to see all year. Once she gets fully vaccinated, she can finally visit her! We’d also like to do some anxiety-free traveling this summer. And most importantly? We wanted her to be able to regain her social life again.
The decision was easy for us. I did wonder what the experience of getting my daughter vaccinated would be like now, given all the hoops we had to jump through only a few months ago.
How has the process of getting vaccinated for COVID-19 changed?
I received a text notice from my child’s pediatrician alerting me that my daughter may be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination. The message included a list of locations near me where she could access a drive-through vaccination tent. There were several convenient locations, all within a ten-to-fifteen-minute drive from my house to choose from. I was even able to request an appointment time and submit all the pertinent medical details securely before visiting, saving us time and hassle on the day of the appointment.
Instead of waiting over a week and a half for an appointment, like I had to, she was able to get her shot the very next business day. We arrived right when they opened, at eight in the morning, and there were already cars queuing up. Approximately fifty cars waited in six lines that moved very quickly.
The first tent was designated for screening patients. The second tent administered the shot. Lastly, we parked in a line at the end for the required fifteen-minute waiting period so staff could monitor shot recipients for allergic reactions to the vaccination.
The whole process took thirty minutes from start to finish! The only rough part about it was listening to my teenager agonize over her fear of needles. She looked surprised when it was over so quickly, and it didn’t hurt at all. Two months ago, the process took me well over an hour, not including the two hours of driving.
Upon exiting, the staff at the vaccination tent gave us a card with the next appointment time. My daughter also received the COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card listing the product she had received with the date and clinic site.
It was so simple and easy.
I was happy to learn later that day, my daughter felt fine. Of course, her arm was a little sore. Apparently, many other friends at school jumped at the chance to get their vaccinations this week, too. Good for them! After all the social distancing and mask-wearing of the past fourteen months, it’s time for these kids to get an opportunity to be normal again.
Just in time for summer!
UAB Drive Through Locations:
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health Guidelines, everyone 12 years and older is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination. More information and an appointment can easily be scheduled at UABMedicineVaccine.org.
UAB Drive Through Locations:
Parker High School
Cathedral of the Cross AOH Church
If you are using a drive-through location, UAB reminds you to arrive with a full tank of gas, bring a mask, and use the bathroom before queuing up because restrooms are unavailable on-site.