Vaccine Machine

admin_general - Posted on 01 April 2021

By Val Vera


Editor's note:

The Brown Crip aka Val Vera, is a poverty and disability skola and recent participant in our revolutionary poverty journalism class at PeopleSkool

All of the views expressed in this piece are Val’s truth Un-cut like all of our contributors 

POORMAGAZINE as a poor /indigenous,houseless  povertydisabled peoples movement believes that all of us should have sovereignty over our own bodies  in our decisions to vaccine or not and this piece is in no way meant to reflect our movement principles. As poor and indigenous peoples we are not a monolith 


Vaccine Machine 

by Val Vera


Sucked in, stuck inside the vaccine machine. This Brown Crip realizes that looking for a way out was not as easy as finding my way in. "You have to go where you received your first shot", I was told. "We don't do second shots", I was informed. "Go back to your provider", I was instructed. My provider? They left me high and dry and told me to "look around." Look around!?

Searching for a second dose of the vaccine within the required timeline was like looking for a needle in the pharmaceutical haystack. According to the CDC, 22 percent of the residents in Texas (where I currently reside), have received the first dose of either the Moderna, Pfizer or single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Only 11 percent of Texans have received the required second dose which, classifies individuals as fully vaccinated. Keep in mind, there's up to a 5-6 week window to get the second dose. Yet, it begs the questions; how many folks will get caught in the cogs of this Vaccine Machine? Will supply meet demand or, in my case, exceed demand? 

During a routine appointment with my doctor, I was told that they had "extra" vaccines and wanted to know if I wanted it. I felt like I won the loteria … without playing! Don't get me wrong, I planned on getting the shot but, not so soon. After further discussion with my doctor, I took them up on their offer and scheduled an appointment to get vaccinated the next day. 

February 5th was a bright sunny day and my anxiety was on ten. I was about to get this experimental cure for a disease that killed so many and kept me in hiding for so long. The day began with a call from the doctor telling me that this "extra" vaccine may no longer be available… followed by a call three hours later, from the same doctor, telling me that a shot may be available… followed by a call telling me yes, I'll get the vaccine… followed by another call telling me to be on standby because they were not sure if one will be available. Standby? It takes my personal care attendant 3-4 hours to get me up and rolling. Standby doesn't exist in my world. 

I sat in their parking at the close of business day waiting for their call. 

Already feeling the effects of being processed by this vaccine machine, I began to second guess my decision to get the shot at that time. After all, I was on the waiting list to receive the vax from the local county public health department and, although the wait time was unknown, it was a sure thing. 

Ring, ring! They had a vaccine! I rolled into the office with high anticipation and a lot of questions - even though I did plenty of research. I was reassured that they would call me to schedule an appointment for the second dose. I also discovered that the shot I received was intended for someone else who traveled out of state and could not return for their vaccine appointment. 

Red flags, right? This was just the beginning of my fight. 

The Moderna vaccine requires the second dose to be given no sooner than 28 days from the first dose; no later than 42 days. The countdown began. I followed up with the office frequently and each time I was told they didn't know when they'd receive the next dose. That rhetoric lasted for three weeks then, my doctor fessed up like a bank robber with pockets filled with dinero.

"I really don't think we're getting any more vaccines… you should look around."

Angst, anger and frustration! My response was filled with profane exclamations! This clusterfuck of a situation needed immediate remediation! Ahora!

I quickly began reaching out to my comrades. I needed resources, connections and, ultimately, that damn second vaccine! Like an army of activists, people appeared en masse. Resources, suggestions and connections flooded my social media and phone. I felt supported. Unfortunately, those leads and resources led to brick wall after brick wall. No one was giving second doses unless you received the first one from them. The vaccine machine was running on all cylinders and I was just a cog, a small piece mechanically moving in a circular motion. 

Randomly, in the darkness of disparity, divinity appears with a nugget of clarity. 

On day 36 at 2:00 AM, I decided to do a last minute online search before resting. With little expectation, I trudged through the CVS pharmacy vaccine portal. Answering each question while mumbling expletives, I reached the search available appointments section. Like many nights before, I tapped the screen with little intention. Unlike the nights before, this search resulted in a pot of gold! I found an appointment… for a second dose… near me! The sigh of relief expelled from my breath served as a fresh breeze on my battered spirit. 

Forty one days after my first dose, I received my second. It should not have been that difficult. At the same time, I can't recall the last time this Brown Crip experienced ease. 

This world wasn't created for my kind. Everything I've been through has been a hustle and a grind. 

A cog in THIS machine no more. Time to take a deep breath before I barge through the next closed door. 


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