Alex Apatoff, Digital Lifestyle Director
First shot: We currently reside in the Chicagoland area, where there was such high demand for vaccines that this awesome teen set up a whole system to help seniors and other high-risk people get appointments. Securing a March appointment seemed like a lost cause until we decided to try some of the zip codes in Illinois that we would be driving through on our way back from visiting grandparents in Florida — and lo and behold, there were openings at a downstate Walmart. I felt guilty about taking a spot there, but the pharmacist thanked me profusely for coming, saying that even back in those earlier days, they were having a tough time getting shots in arms: "We're approaching people in the aisles trying to convince them," she said. When it was over, I felt true, "Walking on Sunshine"-style elation, and the next day only experienced some fatigue (which also could have had something to do with that three-day drive with two kids under 4).
Second shot: The Cook County vaccine hotline helpfully secured us a spot at a FEMA site a half-hour away, so we didn't have to drive all the way back downstate (though, props to the Walmart pharmacy there for following up with us to ensure we got our second shots). The vibe in the abandoned Kmart-turned-vaccination clinic was also jubilant (and the piped-in Kmart music definitely added to the vibe — "Unwritten," anyone?). Plus, the very friendly National Guard guy checking me in complimented my Radiate.Co pin. I had even fewer side effects the second time, and now am just counting down the minutes to the fully-vaxxed haircut, dentist appointment and pedicure I've been putting off for a year.
PEOPLE writers and editors share their reactions to the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines