When the news came about the COVID vaccine being made available to the general public in Canada, I felt ecstatic and worried at the same time. As a current Visa student studying in Canada, I was scared that I would not be eligible for the vaccination. Luckily, the Canadian government allowed all residents in Canada to book appointments regardless of their immigration status–the policy I am extremely thankful for.
The area that I live in was considered a hotspot, so I was eligible for booking in May despite my young age (19 years old). It took several tries for me to successfully claim a spot due to high demands; usually, the webpage would show 30+ minutes of waiting time before declaring that all spots were taken. In the end, I managed to book an appointment by using my phone and two other gadgets to access the webpage at the same–a method I would recommend if you are experiencing unsuccessful attempts.
On the day of the appointment, I stood in line outside the vaccination center. I arrived at the location at approximately 2:40pm–5 minutes before my appointment, however I was not called forward until a little past 3:30. Delays are frequent problems; there is no need to worry if you run into the same trouble. Just wait patiently and they will get to your appointment time–by which time you will be asked to put on an additional mask upon entering the vaccination center and show the time of your appointment to a staff member, which is sent to you either via text and/or email.
A series of questions was asked by staff members once I entered regarding whether I had any COVID symptoms and whether I came in close proximity with anyone with COVID recently. These questions were asked twice–once right after I entered the building, and once just before I walked into the hall where the actual vaccination took place.
I was also asked to show a piece of a photo ID and sanitize my hands during this procedure.
I entered the cubicle and stood on the stool, immediately ready for the shot. However, I was asked a series of questions again, this time regarding my medical history (e.g. whether I was taking any pregnancy pills, my allergies…). Once I answered all the questions, the nurse kindly asked if I had any questions, to which I feverishly and shyly asked if it was going to hurt, something I was deeply concerned with. She smiled and asked whether I had ever had blood drawn from my body. When I said yes, she reassured me that it would not be nearly as bad.
Her reassurance turned out to be true. The process was over in mere seconds, and it did not hurt nearly as much as I expected. I was told to sit quietly in a section and wait for my name to be called while staff members observed whether I had any strong reactions right after the vaccination.
I waited for about 20 minutes with others who had just gotten vaccinated before I was called to a counter–a process that challenged my very-much-still-adolescent patience. A staff member checked over all my information (e.g. name, address, contact information) before handing me a receipt that specified the date of my second shot.
I had some very noticeable reactions after getting vaccinated. Flu-like symptoms arose in less than 6 hours after the vaccination; my upper arm also started to feel extremely sore the very next day. Luckily, these reactions subsided within 2 days.
I had an overall smooth and successful experience. All staff members and nurses that I met at the vaccination center were kind, patient, and very much willing to help. I am thankful to have been made eligible for the vaccination. Hopefully, this article will help other international students in some way if there is any confusion about the process!