POV: A Shot Away From Ending The Pandemic

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Arely Ocampo Bartolo, Engagement Editor


When I got the email that my sister had been able to book an appointment for me my eyes welled with tears. It felt as though these 12 months of COVID-19 torture were finally coming to an end. I stared at my semi-cracked phone screen in disbelief and expected to wake up at any moment because this all felt too good to be true. 

The day came for me to finally get my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. I got up bright and early and changed out of my dull grey sweatpants and oversized hoodie into a bright lavender-colored workout set. I thought to myself, “If my arm is going to be sore for the next couple of days, I might as well make up for it today at the gym”. 

I stepped into my mom’s grey SUV and sat in the cold realizing that in less than two hours I’d have my first dose. 

When I drove into Los Angeles SouthWest College I felt my heart racing. I saw hundreds of people in line waiting for the vaccine inside the college parking lot. All separated by a brightly colored rope and all wearing masks of all different colors. We drove up to a parking spot and got in line with the rest of the people all desperate to get Pfizer. 

When I saw the line, I groaned because it seemed longer than the year that was 2020. When a woman came up and said the downstairs area was less crowded, me and at least six other people stared and started r-u-n-n-i-n-g. Feet pounding on the floor like a stampede echoed inside the parking structure. I was in front of all six runners in line and I was not about to let them cut me downstairs. 

I ran to the stairs and went down four steps at a time hoping I would keep my spot in line. I made it with seconds to spare because just as I stopped—so I did not hit the middle-aged man in front of me—the six other people who had also started running were behind me. 

One woman shook her head in anger that I had raced her while another teenage girl with blonde hair and green eyes rolled her eyes. But I didn’t care. I just wanted to get my vaccine and leave. 

The vaccine itself didn’t hurt. I closed my eyes and counted with the tall brown-haired nurse who was administering the vaccine to me and before I knew it, it was over. 

As I walked out with my mom and my vaccine card in hand, I saw a woman no older than 25 passed out on the floor with a bright yellow bag beside her, while a group of nurses told her she needed to stay awake. I looked away because it seemed rude but I kept that thought in the back of my mind. 

When I got home I had the worst headache and took a nap. Waking up with a mind-numbing headache and a sore arm was not the ideal response but I didn’t care. 

I went to my mirror to wipe off all the black mascara that had left my eyelashes and was now all over my face like war paint. As I looked at my reflection I saw my band-aid. My pride and joy at that very moment.

I was vaccinated. 

I was one shot away from helping to end the pandemic. I was one shot away from being able to hug my friends. I was one shot away from seeing my distant family. I was one shot away from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel that was the pandemic. It was almost over. 

The mess that COVID-19 made was almost over. Life would soon return to normal. I’m back cheering with my team, and I live with a certain peace of mind knowing that I am officially another fully vaccinated California resident.