I got my first dose of Sinovac today! If you’re worried about the side effects, every doctor I have consulted says that 50% efficacy is better than nothing.
I keep getting asked about the vaccination process, so here goes! This will only apply if you/your relatives are based in Quezon City and have co-morbidities (category: A3, persons 18-59 years old with co-morbidities). I have to state this to clear any confusion and because white strangers on Twitter keep telling me “we didn’t get our blood pressures checked, so it must not have happened to you” 🙄
- Download the EzConsult app on your phone. Sign up yourself and your relatives. You can choose your vaccination site and appointment time when booking a shot appointment (the time will not matter later, however). My dad and I chose Pinyahan Elementary School, which was large and spacious.
- You will get a QR code and a system-generated email with your patient ID and appointment details. Don’t delete that email! You will need to bring it to your center later on. The patient ID is particularly important if the system database of the DOH is not recognizing your entry.
- On the day of your appointment, come as early as you can. In our experience, they only took in 20 people at a time. My dad and I had appointments an hour apart but we ended up getting vaccinated together. Also, this is to ensure that you don’t have to wait too long in line and thus, be exposed to more people. Walk-ins were allowed, but they would not be accommodated until 3pm. We were there at 6:30am.
- Eat a filling breakfast before you go to the center! And make sure you pee before leaving your house, especially if you don’t wanna use the public restrooms. Also bring your prescriptions (within 6 months of your vaccination date) and/or medical certificates. And if you can, get it in writing (or text) that you have your specialist’s approval for vaccination.
- There are 5 steps to the vaccination process after registration (or proof of registration). Blood pressure check, counseling, doctor’s interview, the vaccination itself, and post-vaccination observation. All steps are mandatory.
- The BP check will be done twice, especially if yours was a little high the first time. This can happen if you’re nervous. Think of funny things. The health workers were wonderful, though—the lady checking our BP the second time was cheerful and trying to make us laugh. In the meantime, fill out the forms they give you, as well as the attached vaccination card.
- Counseling is just the health worker confirming that you are not pregnant, have no allergies, co-morbidities, etc. BE HONEST. There is no point in lying. They will just note it down and send you off to the doctor.
- They will separate you into people with online bookings and people without. The interview is basically checking for sure that you have medical approval, as well as any maintenance medications. We were lucky; the doctor during my interview noticed that my dad and I seemed to be related, what with our last names and shared disease. He also happened to be a former student of our family nephrologist, so let me go when I said the text of our doc’s approval was with my dad, who went into the vaccination room before me 😆
- For those who are terrified of syringes—me too. That’s what made my first BP skyrocket to 140/90. Let the health workers know that you have a phobia of needles, which is what I did. My dad happened to be waiting for me and alerted the others that I fainted during my last blood test. The health workers made me laugh and relax. The vaccine (Sinovac) itself didn’t hurt as much (it’s water-based). And the lady administering the shot was gentle 😁
- Post-vaccination observation is just your BP getting checked again and sitting in a room with others already vaccinated for a certain amount of time. They will watch you for any adverse effects.
- At Pinyahan, you have the option to take a selfie in front of the DOH tarp 😆 see attached photo below of me and my dad.
- If you feel dizzy afterward, don’t attribute it to the vaccine right away—eat something, drink water (must be warm). Take a shower when you get home to fight off the heat. If you’re still dizzy after that, take a nap. A little discomfort, even a low-grade fever after a shot, is normal. I was told I could take paracetamol should the latter happen. Rest up! And monitor for any adverse effects.
- Your second dose will be around a month after your first. It is important that you stay home in the interval to make sure the vaccine is effective. Again, STAY HOME. Have others run your errands for you. And yes, you will have to book an appointment for the second dose.
Hope this helps!
P.S. This actually happened during my long wait, so—do not, especially if you are coughing and have the sniffles, joke that you have COVID. That’s like making a bomb joke at an airport. 😐
P.P.S. If you are a senior citizen, they will turn you away as Sinovac is not recommended for seniors. Seniors are given Astra Zeneca, which they ran out of 😔