Last April 23, I let out a loud WHOOP!!! 🙌 throughout the office. I had just booked my two vaccination appointments, and I was absolutely ecstatic.
The reason for my excitement was not lost on anyone who had talked with me within the last 2 weeks. The topic of vaccinations had managed to make its way into everyday conversation with me. It was an absolute fixture in my mind. It was all I could talk about. And when they announced that I would be eligible to get a vaccine, you could be damn sure I would be at the front of the line.
And now here we are. It has been 2 weeks since my second dose. I am now officially fully vaccinated.
Unfortunately, there is still a long road ahead towards Hong Kong achieving herd immunity1. Vaccine hesitancy, for a variety of reasons, has become a major stalling factor in the vaccination effort. And so it is my hope that by sharing my experience in getting the vaccine and why I chose to get it, I can help encourage you to do the same.
What was it like getting the vaccine?
In Hong Kong, it is incredibly easy to schedule a vaccination. It takes less than 5 minutes to do it. If you are eligible for vaccination2, all you need to do is:
- Go to the Hong Kong government’s vaccination portal.
- Choose the vaccine that you want3.
- Input your personal particulars (i.e. Hong Kong ID (HKID), Date of Birth, etc.).
- Select the dates for your first and second dose.
- Select the vaccination center.
After all of that, the website should confirm your appointment and you will receive an SMS confirming the booking.
On your appointment date, once you arrive at the vaccination center:
- The attendants will confirm your vaccination appointment with your HKID and the SMS you received.
- You will be asked to read a vaccine information packet.
- You wait in line for a vaccination booth.
- You receive your jab and be given a vaccine record.
- You will be asked to wait for 15 minutes, post-jab, for observation.
- You are free to go!
The entire process inside the vaccination centers is really efficient. And unless the center is at full capacity, you can expect to be in-and-out within 30 minutes.
What were the side-effects afterwards?
I chose to take the BioNTech/Fosum (Comirnaty) vaccine. As far as side-effects go, beyond the feeling of having a sore arm, which is pretty standard for me with any vaccine, I mostly just felt hungry and tired following both jabs.
The hunger didn’t stay long. I just indulged in whatever craving popped into my head, using the vaccine as a very convenient excuse.
The fatigue disappeared after a good night’s rest. Perhaps the worst side-effect I encountered was just feeling chilly the day after the second jab. That could have been the vaccine; or it could have just been Hong Kong offices, where air conditioning is always on full blast.
Overall the side-effects were quite mild for me. Which is consistent with the expectations from the clinical trial results for the BioNTech/Fosum (Comirnaty) vaccine. The most prevalent side-effects being fatigue, headaches, and chills4.
When I had scheduled my vaccine appointments, I purposefully took them on weekdays and had preemptively arranged to take leave from work on both days. You don’t really have to do this. You can take the vaccine before or after work; several of my friends did just that. I just saw the vaccine as a nice excuse to practice a bit of self-care. Get the vaccine and protect myself from COVID-19, and then relax the rest of the day eating fried chicken.
Why did you decide to get it?
I got the vaccine because I want things to go back to normal.
Professional, social, or personal, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for everyone on a whole number of fronts. A year and a half of restrictions, isolation, and fear has left its mark on all of us. And I am just so tired of it all. The post-COVID world, whatever it is, will be very different to life from before the pandemic. But it will be better than the experience we are all living in right now in the middle of one. I want things to go back to some form of normalcy, whatever “normal” is.
And I just don’t see any other way we can return to normal without everyone being vaccinated. We’ve tried practicing social-distancing. But it was only really a method to reduce the damage. It was never meant to be a long-term solution to COVID-19. The last year and a half, and four waves made that abundantly clear. The only way out of this pandemic is through the vaccination effort.
To me, getting vaccinated means being able to go out and freely see friends. Getting vaccinated means being able to travel home to see my family in the Philippines. Getting vaccinated means we stop living in this heightened state of fear, and we can return to looking forward, rather than back.
I am looking forward to things being better. I am looking forward to being able to go out with friends again to make bad decisions in bars. I am looking forward to being able to just hug people again.
This is why I got vaccinated. To have something to look forward to again. ❤️
70% of the population getting vaccinated. ↩︎
As of writing, any Hong Kong resident aged 16 or above. ↩︎
As of writing, Hong Kong residents have a choice between the Sinovac or BioNTech/Fosum (Comirnaty) vaccines. ↩︎
The occurrence of fever is relatively rare at only 16% occurrence following the second jab. ↩︎