SEASIDE — Clatsop County has administered more than 17,350 vaccine doses against the coronavirus.
I was one of them.
“There’s been so much emphasis put on the importance of the vaccine, that the journey of getting through the process, getting through the line and finally receiving the ‘sacrament’ was almost a quasi-religious experience,” my wife, Eve, said afterward. “It had a sense of ceremony.”
It seemed like a long road. Covering COVID-19 for the newspaper is almost all-consuming. Every story has a consequence from the impacts of the virus: physical, social, personal. Families, businesses, schools, the way we live, the way we think and vote has been linked to the virus in some way.
Every death as a result of the coronavirus seems incongruously both random, yet especially close.
Being in classification 1B — over 65 with no preexisting conditions — I was eligible for the vaccine in late January.
We registered online and checked pharmacy websites. We Googled, surfed, studied, registered, filed, clicked and phoned. Did you have to be a Costco member to get one at Costco? Could you get one in Washington state if you live in Oregon? Eligibility was one thing — getting an appointment another.
Yet judging from the selfies on social media, everybody but us was getting it. What was the secret code? Were they really all eligible, or were they jumping the line? I was almost ashamed for such thoughts. Anyone who wants the vaccine should be allowed to freely get it. No guilt. No shame.
In mid-March, we still hadn’t gotten an appointment, more than six weeks after eligibility.
We had worked our thumbs down clicking refresh on pharmacy webpages.
Though it hadn’t worked in the past, Eve took a friend’s advice and called the county Public Health Department. To her amazement, they scheduled us the next week at the old Seaside High School. It was almost too easy.
We entered the high school.
Volunteers greeted us like they were hosts at Wyndham. Some of the volunteers even wore badges labeled “concierge.”
The single-file line down the high school hallway was daunting but moved so quickly that we got to the front in less than 15 minutes.
Though we would have preferred the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, we happily submitted to the Moderna, administered by an extremely competent volunteer. After taking the shot — it didn’t hurt — we got our little vaccine cards. Sorry, no selfie.
After the shot, we sat in chairs socially distanced from each other in the former high school gym. No wonder lots of baby boomers say they are reminded of getting the polio vaccine in schools in the 1950s and ‘60s.
We were two of 600 jabs that day at the high school, a volunteer mentioned.
More than 5,200 county residents are fully vaccinated, a step toward the county’s goal to reach herd immunity against the virus by vaccinating 27,533 people. This week, the county’s vaccine task force plans to give 1,400 first doses and 1,170 second doses at four events.
And that seems like a good thing.