Column | I finally got my first vaccine dose and this is why I’ve been eager

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The green ID book gang is eager to be vaccinated
The green ID book gang is eager to be vaccinated

I absolutely love the 35-49 gang. The green ID group gang, the ‘his queen, her king’ photoshoot organising South Africans.

We are such go-getters and nothing makes it clearer than being in a queue to get a vaccine for Covid-19.

This generation, ayibizwa ingasabeli. They mean business. They have been out in numbers since government opened the vaccination process to us and it’s beautiful to watch.

I spent almost four hours in a queue mostly packed with the Nkalankatha age group. They had brought books, they had the snacks, they were making idle conversation with the people in front or behind them in the queue. I was number 216 and we were all there to stay. 

I watched a young man carrying a chair for the granny behind him every time the queue moved. I watched another ask the people in front and behind him if they needed anything at the coffee shop as he’d be happy to go for them.

I watched a couple hug emotionally just after getting their shot. I watched as people had conversations (socially distanced) about the books they were reading or as they gossiped about the ones who were just not patient enough to wait their turn.

In fact, by the time I got my vaccine shot, I knew where the woman in front of me lived and why she had decided to drive so far to get her shot. I knew so much about the couple behind me that we were five-to inviting each other out for tea.

And I watched a guy shoot his shot to the beautiful woman behind him after spending two hours stealing glances at her (and yes, we all noticed).

Getting vaccinated feels like a game-changer for me.

But on a more serious note, today I breathed a sigh of relief. After months of isolation and Covid-19 paranoia, I finally got my first dose of a vaccine.

And I can’t even tell you what it means to me.

I’m one of those people who have been camping on the vaccine registration site waiting for the day government would decide I’m finally eligible to get it. As soon as they opened for the 35 – 49 group, I registered. And the next day I had already registered for a vaccine appointment through Dischem, that’s how eager I was.

Not because I want to go out there and live my best life. Not because I’m suddenly picturing a life of freedom with no masks or social distancing.

But because I’m one of those people in their 30s living with a pre-existing condition. I’ve spent months sanitizing, social distancing so much that I barely went anywhere and mostly relied on delivery services and just being super careful.

Because I knew that if I got the dreaded Covid-19, my chances of survival were smaller than those of someone without pre-existing conditions and that freaked me out.

And I know I’m not the only one. And we have in fact seen more and more people in their 30s and 40 dying and it scared me. Every time I saw a RIP, I started checking if I had symptoms. And that's no way to live. With this dose of the vaccine, I feel like I at least have a fighting chance. That amajoni omzimba have a helper that will make sure that even if I get the coronavirus, I can and will fight it.

So finally, after months of being tense and worrying about every cough, wondering if every headache or throat scratch meant that it had finally caught up with me, I can breathe again.

And even though I am not planning on letting lose and going outside without a mask, I’m still excited. And I hope you will be too when it’s your turn.

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