Nadir Pop recounts his COVID-19 vaccine experience
India right now is in the midst of the largest vaccination drive ever known in history. And everyone wants to get a shot. Unfortunately it wasn’t easy. The government has built a portal where people can go and book their slots. The drive for the age group 18-44 started on 1st May 2021 and I got my chance on the 11th of May. It might seem that “hey 10 days to get a shot, well that’s easy. You book, get in line and wait for your chance”. It wasn’t that simple.
If you wanted to get your shot you had to visit the website every single day during the allotted time frame, which was decided by the municipal body of the city you reside in via twitter. This was an exercise of how lucky once can be to get a vaccine slot. Since the centres had the capacity of between 500 to 1000 slots each day, contrast that with a population of 12.5 million people in the city of Mumbai. People started calling it a lottery because that is exactly how you felt like, the only difference being… you had work for it.
It was a game of pure determination, high alertness and fastest finger first. Why you might wonder because by the time you try and book yourself a slot, within 5-7 seconds the centre would be completely booked. And then you try it all over again the next evening. I am not getting into the mechanics of it, let’s leave that for another day. But I won the lottery on the 10th of May and got my shot on the 11th.
Both my wife and I were up by 7am, since we got the 9am to 11am slot. We were told to have a heavy breakfast, it was a mandate. Once again, fortunately we got a centre that was just 4kms away from our home so traveling was not an issue. We reached half an hour before and as per the stories and experiences we had read, it was very well organised.
We had to wait in line for 45 mins and after that it was just a breeze. By the time we registered at the counter, within 10 mins we got our shot. After that we had to be under observation for 30 mins, in case we had a reaction to the vaccine Thankfully we didn’t. The entire ordeal was completed within two hours and we were back in time for our daughter’s school and work.
Post getting the shot we did experience some uneasiness. Surprisingly, we didn’t break out into a fever like many others who reported it on social media, but in any case we were prepared for it. Be ready for your arm to hurt like hell because both the wife and I experienced that. I also got a severe headache and backache the next day. All in all it took a week for us to get back to normal (which is why I am writing this today, 17th May). Now I am looking forward to my second dose which will happen between 12th and 22nd June. Fingers Crossed.