The day finally came! Last Thursday, I received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. In BC we have about 58% of adults with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Looking forward to that increasing community immunity so that our lives can return to the previous “normal”.
At the Convention Centre
I received my vaccine at the Vancouver Convention Centre (Canada Place). I arrived at around 10:15am, and there were no line ups outside (talking with the staff, I heard that in the mornings at opening time there have been line ups all the way to the teardrop on the west side). A couple staff were positioned outside to ensure people were in the right place and that they had no COVID-19 symptoms, close contact with COVID-19 positive people, or travel in the last couple of weeks, the usual self-assessment.
Upon entering the building, we were split into two lines in the lobby in order to receive a new disposable face mask.
After receiving a new mask, we were ushered into the ballroom to the registration area. Here we presented our PHN and they would confirm the contact details, then write out an immunization record card to bring along to the next station. I don’t remember exactly since I passed through this area relatively quickly but I think there were about 10-20 stations set up, although only a handful were in operation when I was there.
The next part was the queue maze to the actual immunization stations in the exhibition halls. This part was the longest wait, the full maze taking about 15 minutes. Here they also gave the information sheets on vaccination aftercare.
Once at the front of the line, ushers were directing people to the next open station. There were about 35 stations set up when I went through, and almost all of them were in use. The immunizer would ask several standard vaccine questions and ask if the vaccine to be given is ok, go over side effects and aftercare.
After they injected the vaccine, I walked over to the waiting area where there were pairs and individual chairs set up physically distant. A handful of helpful staff were circulating to chat with everyone, making sure no one was feeling any immediate side effects, and to give out the stickers.
After waiting 15 minutes (keeping track on our own), we walked out of the door to the promenade, and that was it! Looking forward to the second dose, and moving back to a more “normal” life.
Luckily, I did not feel much significant side effects. The night of and morning afterwards I felt soreness in the arm, especially when pressing it or sleeping on it, for example. I had a bit of a headache towards the end of the second day and the morning of the third day. But all in all I was able to do my normal daily work and routines without much impact.