Defeating Covid-19 With Vaccines: A Frontline Experience

Kate Novack '24, Staff Writer

2020 brought so much sadness, separation, and loneliness for many Americans due to the Coronavirus, quarantine period, and ongoing social distancing. In 2021, though, there is a hope that these setbacks can be turned into happiness, rejoicing, and unity. The Coronavirus vaccine is currently being administered in all 50 states for a wide range of citizens. While each state has a different process, they all share a common goal: to vaccinate as many people as they can as quickly as possible.

In Massachusetts, the vaccine is being administered in three phases. The first phase, similar to many other states, is for our most vulnerable workers who are risking their lives in order to care for others. Some of these workers include doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, and congregate care staff. The second phase provides vaccines for members of the community who are 75 years old, sixty-five years with two or more comorbidities, and other daily workers who work in public settings, including K-12 teachers. The third phase administers the vaccine to members of the general public. MA expects to begin phase two vaccinations on February 1st. For more details, see the Commonwealth website.

There are many places in Massachusetts where you can receive your vaccine. One of the most notable is Gillette Stadium in Foxborough where the New England Patriots football team plays. Gillette is one of the many sports arenas where the vaccine is being administered.  Over 10,000 people have already been vaccinated at Gillette, and they hope for more in the coming months. 

My dad, a social worker working directly with vulnerable clients, was able to get his vaccine under the first phase of distribution. He made an appointment online, drove from Medfield to Foxborough, and received the long awaited vaccine. When he first arrived at Gillette stadium, he was directed to wait in a very long line. While waiting in that line, he saw a variety of people, including other healthcare and frontline workers. My dad waited about an hour and a half. After he waited in line, he checked in. Checking in required several forms of identification, including his driver’s license, his social work professional license, and a letter from his employer. He then waited in another line before he was able to get the vaccine. Following check in, my dad sat in one of the seats that many Americans are longing to sit in. A nice emergency medical technician came over with the syringe filled with the Moderna vaccine that is 94 percent effective in fighting the Coronavirus.  He answered all of my dad’s questions about the vaccine. Luckily, my dad is not afraid of needles, so the administering of the vaccine did not scare him. Following the vaccine, he was asked to wait for fifteen minutes to make sure nothing had gone wrong in his body’s response to the shot. My dad said, “I felt fine. There were no problems. I had a slightly sore arm which is totally normal.” 

He’s made an appointment for a second shot as well. Unfortunately, anecdotally, the second dose of the vaccine is not as easy as the first. Patients, like my mom’s best friend from college, have felt fatigue, nausea, and overall not their best. My mom and I have advised my dad to take it easy on the day of his second dose. The second dose has more side effects, according to doctors, because this indicates that the body’s immune response system has been fully activated, and this response is good news.

Gillette Stadium has promoted the distribution of vaccines as a safe way to protect your loved ones, fellow colleagues, and everyday people you encounter. When my dad left the stadium, he received a blue bracelet saying “I got my Covid-19 vaccine at Gillette Stadium,” a pin to wear on his shirt similar to the I Voted stickers, a picture with the smiling emergency medical technician, and a photo in front of a large picture wall that had the Gillette logo, the Massachusetts state logo, and the words: “I got vaccinated at Gillette Stadium.” The Massachusetts Department of Health and Gillette Stadium want to do anything they can, bracelets and all, to make the vaccine available to everyone and to encourage all Americans to get vaccinated as the ultimate solution to the Coronavirus crisis.

While the Moderna vaccine is 94 percent effective, you still have to wear your mask and do your part in social distancing. Hopefully, in the near future, we all will be able to hug our loved ones, see our classmates closer than six feet, and enjoy each other’s company. For now, my dad says: “Overcome fear. Believe in what the scientists are telling you. Remember that getting vaccinated is an act of love.” 

Kate Novack ’24