by Peggy Goldtrap
The following was the author’s expe-rience on February 11, 2021. For the latest information regarding COVID-19 in Volusia County, visit Volusia.org/coronavirus
On Thursday, February 11, GAG and I were shot. Now that I have your attention, we were fortunate enough to get a drive-through appointment for the Moderna Covid Vaccine shot at the Volusia County Fairgrounds in DeLand.
I had been trying to make an appointment for weeks with no luck. Early a.m. attempts, late morning attempts, nothing worked on my computer. Twice I got close, but close only wins in horseshoes.
I have a reasonably good sense of computer-eze but the slots were full, seconds after they opened. I refreshed pages, signed on at least a half-hour before opening, and was ZIP with keys. There must have been hundreds ahead of me or on faster computers or friends of Bill Gates.
By the last attempt I decided that a holistic approach and prayer would be our pathway. There is a lot of controversy about the injections and fear of something new and untested. We decided to proceed because of age and some chronic problems, 50/50. Toss up.
A compassionate friend sent a text asking if she could help? Yes! Please! It took her two times to be successful and she sent us a congratulatory message: You’re in at the Volusia Fairgrounds on Feb. 11, 1-2 p.m. I don’t know how she did it; faster computer speed maybe, fairy dust, luck. I don’t care, she had helped her relatives, other friends, and now she was helping us. I so appreciated it.
Next came essential downloads in prep for the big event. So just pretend you’re going to a concert and have tickets.
There is a code on the tickets that the professionals will scan. Print the tickets and have them in a folder. The next download will be health questionnaires. These are generic so the stress is minimal. Be certain to fill out the section about allergies: the pros know if there are triggers in the vaccine. (I filled in a few allergies, and the nurses followed through with assurance.)
Relax, take your time, in your leisure fill out everything, ticket sheets, and health questions, ahead of time, print all and take with you in a folder. I googled the Fairgrounds site for our routing, time estimate. Coming in from the east side we saw three roads to the Fairgrounds, but they were blocked. We turned around and finally we saw cars entering and exiting a distant roadway. To us the entry was not well-marked, like we need flashing arrows or sirens.
V-DAY. We arrived at the Fairground at 12:49 and sat in line.
From this perspective we could see nothing but other people looking for something. No other sign of life. A guard greeted us and pointed directions. In the distance we could see what looked like 200 cars and we were told to join them. Two more turns and some pleasant, cheerful ladies were going car to car asking for names, our tickets, confirming appointments in their registry, and giving tips on what to expect. They apologized for the longer wait.
Our appointments were on the ‘only day’ there were also appointments for Moderna Vaccination second shot.
We headed our Hyundai Ioniq to an open field filled with a long line of cars, trucks, vans, and one snazzy red sports convertible with the top down. Envy! For the next two hours we snaked our way through the Fairgrounds stopping at tents from time to time and being asked generic questions, showing paperwork, talking about weather, etc. We were killing time but with a purpose.
Finally, we arrived at a tent staffed by friendly nurses who asked more questions. They told us what to expect maybe and what to do about it if. In minutes they had the injections in our arms. Practically painless. The smiling angels of mercy gave us the record of our encounter and appointment cards for exactly 28 days.
Not through yet, hold on! Since I had listed some allergies, we were directed to a special waiting area for 30 minutes instead of the normal 15 minutes. As a matter of caution, every car is asked to wait a short period of time after the injection in the rare event of a reaction. We pulled into a location close to an ambulance ‘just in case’ and thankfully close to the PortaPotties which brings me to the next chapter.
If you have an appointment at the Volusia County Fairgrounds, there is no Fair going on which means there are no sausages, giant fizzies, or cotton candy. There’s no water, water, anywhere. There are no bathrooms. There is nothing to eat out on State Road 44 between DeLand and New Smyrna Beach except medical personnel and emergency responders. Uber doesn’t deliver. By the way gas up because your car will be idling for a long time.
God bless those dedicated people and many volunteers, plus all the people who pushed through the vaccine and every single one who contributed anything to getting it into the arms of the public.
We’ve been told that the second vaccine is the most likely to be reactive if at all, but reactions are reasonably mild. So far, friends are reporting everything from ‘no problems’ to aches, slight fever, stomach distress, fatigue, feeling slightly off. Compared to the violence of Covid, these symptoms are minimal. We have been urged to hydrate before the next vaccine.
Now that we’re vaccine veterans and we know the territory at Volusia County Fairgrounds, GAG and I are taking several bottles of water and favorite snacks for the next event. Anything else?