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COVID vaccine part 1 – check ✔

I received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday afternoon, exactly one year after my first day of working from home under Louisiana’s Stay at Home order. I know this because I have a photo on my phone taken on March 23, 2020, seconds after my eight-week-old puppy somehow managed to unplug my desktop computer on my first day of working remotely.

I stayed home for approximately six weeks (except for about four or five press conferences that I attended in person) to keep my high-risk coworkers safe from the virus.Even though I was back in the office by May, I’m grateful that cell phones, email and text messages allowed me to make safety a priority during the height of the first wave, when life in a pandemic was so new and uncertain.

Keeping others safe is what led me to get the COVID-19 vaccine this week, just one day after news media employees and other essential workers became eligible. I thought I would share my experience to ease the fears of anyone on the fence about making an appointment.

I received part one of the Moderna vaccine at a clinic held at the Choice International Multi-purpose Building in LaPlace. The event was organized by District VI Councilwoman Tonia Schnyder in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Health. Amazing service men and women with the Louisiana National Guard were onsite to administer the vaccine. 

Once I checked in, it only took about three minutes for me to be escorted to the back and receive the shot. They made sure to ask my which arm I wanted it in. After it was done, quickly and painlessly, they asked me to sit in the waiting area for 15 minutes to ensure I did not have any serious medical reactions. A few others were sitting in the waiting area with me, and we all left without incident after the 15 minutes were up.

As I drove home in the pouring rain, I felt a sense of heaviness in the arm where I got the injection. The next day, it turned to soreness and some pain at the injection site, but it was still tolerable. Most of my family members did not experience side effects at all aside from a sore arm after the first dose, but I had some body aches and pains the day after I received the vaccine, similar to what you would experience when running a low-grade fever. It was nothing a painkiller couldn’t fix; a small price to pay for protection against severe illness and hospitalization.

Locations that were packed testing sites in the River Parishes only a few months ago are now vaccination sites. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I will keep readers updated on how I feel after the second dose!

Brooke R. Cantrelle is news editor for L’OBSERVATEUR. She can be reached at 985-652-9545 or brooke.robichaux@lobservateur.com.