John gets his shot

Pioneer reporter John Gutekunst (seated) is ready for Jamie Enriquez of the La Paz County Health Department to give him his first coronavirus vaccine shot. This took place at the vaccination clinic held March 25 in Quartzsite.

I got my first coronavirus vaccine shot this past week. I was one of those who attended the vaccination clinic held March 25 at the Quartzsite Community Center on Chandler Street. I understand I’ll have to go back in four weeks to get my second dose to be fully immunized.

I have now joined the over 2 million Arizonans who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. I received one of the 3.2 million doses that have been administered.

Things were moving quickly on the vaccination front last week. I first became interested in the Quartzsite clinic when I learned the age for vaccination had been lowered to 55, per the priority list set up by the Arizona Department of Health Services. Being aged 60, I was too young for earlier clinics.

Last week, the age for vaccination was lowered to 45. Later in the week, Gov. Doug Ducey opened it up to anyone and everyone over the age of 16.

One of the first things I noticed when I got to the Quartzsite Community Center was parking was ample. This was good as finding a place to park for public events like these is often a problem.

I also noticed how many people they had staffing the clinic. These included County Health Department employees, community volunteers and Arizona National Guard personnel. They even had people who could assist those who had trouble reaching the clinic from the parking area due to disabilities. They had no shortage of people helping out.

I had some paperwork to fill out, and I had to stand in several lines to get checked in and have the paperwork approved. I must say I was surprised the lines moved very quickly. Before I knew it, I was seated to get my shot.

I hardly felt the needle going in, though I did feel it later when soreness developed in the upper arm area where I received the shot. I was told this is a normal reaction and nothing to be too concerned about.

The clinic was quite well organized, and I had my shot and was in and out in less than 15 minutes. As I was leaving, I mentioned to County Health Director Marion Shontz how impressed I was with how quickly the clinic moved people through. She said she appreciated the comment.

“We got this down to a science!” she said.

According to ADHS, over 11,000 La Paz County residents have received at least one vaccination shot. Over 4,300 have been fully vaccinated.

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