Making the Appointment

Kiyo Fukumoto had been following news about the COVID-19 vaccine every day, awaiting the time that he would be able to protect himself against the virus. “I was really pleased when it became available,” he said. Since Kiyo was old enough to qualify for the vaccination group of those over 75, he went online and made an appointment for his first shot in January of 2021.

“I was asked for some information: How old you are, if you have any symptoms and things like that—then they give you a time when you’re able to go,” Kiyo explained. At his first appointment, Kiyo received his first shot of the Moderna vaccine and then waited 28 days until his appointment for the second and final shot.

A Home-Run Experience

Kiyo scheduled his appointment at the Dodgers Stadium vaccination site, where he was able to receive the vaccination in a drive-through format. When he arrived, workers looked up Kiyo’s name to verify his appointment. “I had a copy of my information too, because I had been sent a confirmation for the date and time,” he added.

Kiyo received his shot from one of the firefighters working at the site. He described, “I stuck out my left arm and I turned my back, and it was already finished!” Afterwards, Kiyo was asked to wait in his car for 15 minutes to make sure he felt ready to drive, and then he was free to leave. Overall, he was happy with the process, sharing, “It was well-organized, and I found it to be a real positive, friendly, supportive group of people who are trying to make it as comfortable as they can for you.”

After the required 28 days had passed, Kiyo then went back to Dodgers Stadium to receive his second shot, which he said was the same process.

Understanding Side Effects

Everyone has a different side effects from the vaccine shots, but for Kiyo, he felt no side effects from the first shot. “It was a good feeling when I had the first one,” he said. “There’s a comfort in knowing that I’m getting protected.”

However, Kiyo did experience side effects from the second vaccine, as warned by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The evening after he received the second vaccination, he felt some fatigue when he sat down to watch television. “When I got up, I didn’t feel well,” he said, “Not achy or anything, just what I would consider a drainage of energy. My head felt slightly clouded over as well, and so I brushed my teeth and went right to sleep.”

After sleeping for a restful nine hours, Kiyo felt better over the course of the next day. By the day after that, he was back to exercising and going about his other activities. “It’s a vaccine and that’s what it does. My body needed time,” he commented. “I didn’t feel as well as I usually do, but I realize that the vaccine was working and it was simply moving throughout my body to help it build the antibodies to fight COVID.”

A Family Inspiration

Kiyo’s experience getting the vaccine encouraged his sister to make an appointment for herself as well. Although she was hesitant at first, after hearing that Kiyo was able to get vaccinated without leaving his car, she decided to find a site in her county that offered drive-through appointments. Kiyo explained, “I think it soothes some possible fear to have this awareness and understanding, and to know somebody else that is going through it.”

As for himself, Kiyo now feels safer when he has to leave the house and is able to interact with his grandchildren with less stress, while still taking proper precautions with a mask on and appropriate distancing. He described, “I trust that the scientists have done what they needed to do, and that it is safe—and I hope that others can get it as soon as possible.”

Note: This is one individual’s experience of getting vaccinated, and may have different registration, vaccination experience, and side effects for others.

Published 3/2/21