my dad’s covid vaccine experience

The first day the vaccine schedule opened up for those over 75, I immediately took to the internet to schedule my 94-year-old dad.  My technology background coupled with the multitude of sold-out rock concert ticket purchases prepared me for this quest.  My internet searches navigating through the multiple websites proved successful when I landed a 5:15p.m. appointment on January 24 at the Westchester County Center.

My Dad and I arrived there about 20 minutes early which proved to be a wise move.

He has mobility issues, so I pulled up to the front of the front of the building and was greeted by White Plains police officers and the Army National Guard.  They were extremely pleasant and helpful, and were able to provide my dad with a wheelchair and escort up the ramp to the building’s entrance lobby.  I proceeded to park my car in the east parking lot, located straight across the Bronx River Parkway.  The parking lot directly across from the building on Route 119 is no longer available. 

After parking, I met my Dad in the lobby. We registered at the desk with his appointment document and were given a form to complete.  A nurse came over to take our temperatures.  There was also an optional survey to complete using your cellphone camera, via a QR code. 

The relatively long line inside the building moved at a consistent pace. The floor was clearly marked with blue tape to keep everyone socially distanced.  There were many people to assist and direct us along the way to a private office where there were two nurses.  They were very personable and professional, and one of them administered the Pfizer vaccine to my dad.  We were given a card documenting his first dose; the next scheduled appointment, for the second dose in three weeks time, was noted on the back of this card.

We then proceeded to a large observation room for 20 minutes to ensure he didn’t have an adverse reaction to the vaccine.  All went smoothly there and I wheeled my dad back to the lobby. He waited there, watching the NFC playoff game on a large TV screen, while I retrieved my car and drove to the front of the building to pick him up. While we had formerly been advised that no one would be able to help us, one of the soldiers did go inside for me to wheel my dad to our car. 

The entire experience seemed extremely well organized. And my dad’s looking forward to returning to the County Center for his second Pfizer vaccine dose.  Thanks to Governor Cuomo, County Executive George Latimer, the White Plains Police, the Army National Guard, medical staff, and County Center staff for your public service in these extraordinary times!

As the owner of Pinnacle Trips, a travel agency business that’s been severely impacted by the pandemic, I remain very optimistic for the recovery of the travel industry. My Dad and I urge everyone to get the vaccine. He was fortunate to get it early. I understand how frustrating the process has been but I believe our collective patience and persistence will lead to a return of good things and brighter days for us all.


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