Literally millions of people around the world have now received one or even two vaccinations to protect them against Covid 19. But I’ve just had my first injection, and so I’m going to describe my experience, step-by-step, in case you’re wondering how it all takes place (at least here in rural France).
My appointment was for 11:10 a.m. (precise, eh?) yesterday morning, and Jan and I made it into the parking lot in Sarlat just about on time. There were a few nervous minutes as I waited for one of the world’s most cautious drivers to back out of her parking spot, so I could park my car. (Would I lose my place, if I was even five minutes late?) In any case, Jan and I arrived at the entrance to the Centre Cultural Paul Eluard (converted into a vaccination centre) to find quite a number of people sitting or standing around. So, how long would I have to wait?
As it turned out, my wait lasted only a few minutes, just enough time for us to chat with a few people Jan and I know. Every few minutes, a young man would emerge from the centre and bark out someone’s last name, calling them in for their appointment. The photo below shows the entrance, but it was taken as I left the vaccination centre just before the noon break, which is why so few people can be seen:
The young man who called me into the centre directed me to a desk where a woman sat at a computer, ready to sign me in. She asked a few questions, verified my identity, and gave me a form to complete — and then the same young man led me to a table to await the doctor, and to complete my form. Here’s a photo of the doctor who emerged from his temporary “office” to deal with the patient ahead of me:
Once the doctor fetched me, he sat me down and reviewed the questionnaire I had completed. Then he explained what we all (at least, most of us) already now know about the vaccine — that it’s effective in preventing the disease, that there might be side effects, and that the side effects would probably be not much more than a slightly sore arm. (And that’s what I had this morning — barely sore at all. As I write this, the soreness has pretty much disappeared.)
After the doctor completed his chat, he directed me a few feet forward, to the next enclosure, where a nurse gave me the actual injection. Honestly, it was so pain-free that I almost didn’t believe her when she said it was done. So that’s good news, if you’re the least bit concerned.
Pretty much the last step was for the nurse to direct me to a large area (photo below) where those of us who had been vaccinated had to wait for our details to be entered into a computer. Finally, a young woman approached me, handed me the notification for my second vaccination, and said I could leave.
All in all, not a difficult experience — just a bit boring, with several long-ish periods of waiting. I’d estimate the total time for my vaccination to be about 50 minutes. And after that? Well, I returned to my car, and Jan and I drove to the McDonald’s just north of the cultural centre for a cheeseburger-and-fries lunch. Always thinking ahead, we had brought with us two small thermos bottles of white wine. Guilty pleasures!