• 2021.10.25
  • COVID-19 vaccine mixing and anaphylactic shock
I got my first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the end of June. They opened them up to people in their 40s in mid-June, so my husband made appointments for both of us.

When they were still in development, I had a lot of questions about the strange mRNA vaccines, and had hoped to avoid getting one. But the more I got used to the new normal of daily life with the coronavirus, the more those feelings faded.

Although I do have concerns about young children getting vaccinated as they have such a long future ahead of them, I feel like I’m prepared to fully accept my own decision to get the vaccine even if it ends up creating side effects several years down the road—I’ll be an old woman by then.
In short, given my current circumstances, I’m no longer resistant to getting the shot.

Making the appointment was an extremely simple process. We just entered our insurance numbers on the public health center website.
A few days later they sent us a text with a date and time, to which we were asked to reply SIM (YES) or NÃO (NO).
Once I replied YES, all I had to do is show up at the vaccination site on the date and time in the message.

The appointment times are scheduled in one-minute increments, which means that they function as ticket numbers on the day of the appointment. If my appointment were scheduled for 10:10, for example, I’d go inside when they called the 10-somethings. If my husband were 10:15, it would mean that there were four people scheduled between us.

Once your number/time is called and you enter the site, they hand you a questionnaire asking you to provide information on special medical conditions and so on. They have you fill it out at a standing bar-counter type of table, which they immediately disinfect for the next person as soon as you step away. You then wait your turn for the shot in an area with plenty of separation between the chairs—which they of course also sanitize as soon as you stand up. Any time anyone moved, the sanitizer people would trot over and spray behind them in a mechanical dance that reminded me of a video game. It was actually quite funny to watch.

When it was my turn, I was taken into a small room by a pair of what seemed like nurses. One of them checked over my completed form and entered my vaccination information in a computer. They then explained which vaccine I would get, about when I’d need to come back for my second dose, what they’d be doing, and so on.

The other nurse asked me which was my dominant hand and then prepared to inject me in the opposite arm. She told me what medicines I should take if I felt feverish, to ice any swelling, and so on, and then before I knew it the injection was done.

They then took me out to the waiting area, where I was instructed to remain for thirty minutes. They had a massive digital clock set up in the middle of the hall (which was a gymnasium) so that everyone could keep track of time for themselves. A doctor was on standby in a private room in the middle of the area, where they could carry you (on a stretcher-like bed if necessary) if anything went wrong.

Apparently when they first started giving out vaccines, they also passed out little lunch boxes with biscuits or other snacks and mineral water during the 30-minute waiting period after the vaccine was given, but by the time they got to people in their 40s, they had just started placing the snacks and water on a table by the exit, so you could pick something up if you needed it. To be honest, that was plenty.

So my first vaccination experience was super low-key and way simpler than I thought it would be.

To be continued…


  • Megumi Ota
  • JobConservator, interpreter, and coordinator / Insitu (restoration), Kaminari-sama / Novajika, and others

I’m a conservator and preservationist living in Portugal. I specialize primarily in paintings (murals) and gold leaf design, and am involved with UNESCO World Heritage structures as well as the interior of the Palace of Belém. I derive great satisfaction from having close ties to my community in the rural village near the Silver Coast where I live. My hobby is gardening.

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