When the radio announced the start of the vaccination campaign here at the beginning of June, mom was super relieved.
Like many of her age group, mom’s appointment for the second vaccine of AstraZeneca was delayed and later cancelled with no further explanation.
We went to the stadium two days in a row and it was jam-packed. By the third day the police was put in charge and mom managed to enter and get vaccinated.
As for me, I decided to go the following week as they told mom that they’ll be vaccinating whoever interested. Of course, this wasn’t the case. As we left the car, we heard the policeman announcing that the entire week was dedicated to vaccinating government sector employees.
“When will it be for individuals?” “No idea!”.
At this stage mom was panicking as I was the only one left home without vaccination. We decided to go to Badr al Sama in Al Khuwair as a friend of mine had shown me an advert that announced their vaccination campaign for Omanis between the ages of 18-45.
When my cousin and I arrived there, the place was crammed and we were in fear of contracting something other than Covid-19 from the crowd (my cousin was wearing two masks and I regretted instantly calling him teddy bear muzzle).
There was no one around to ask and we bumped into the supervisor by chance. Funny enough, he denied any knowledge of the advert and kept insisting that if we don’t belong to a company then we won’t be vaccinated (that was the only time I wished I had a smart phone to shove their advert under his nose).
My cousin decided that enough was enough and he booked me an appointment immediately in the new Oman hospital. It was for the afternoon of the next day and when I went it was busy too. The receptionist kept apologizing to the frustrated masses for not being able to stick to the appointments due to the many walk-ins they’ve been dealing with since morning (why insist on booking appointments then?).
She gave me a form to fill with three vaccine options: Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sputnik (I didn’t know that we had it here!). Out of the three they only offered AstraZeneca to individuals (and the point of spoiling us with choices is?). While waiting for my turn, the Tunisian man next to me grumbled about not being convinced with the efficacy of the AstraZeneca. I silenced him by saying that all he should care about is being vaccinated and that’s that!
Finally, I paid RO 11 for the dose and it was my turn. I walked in a long corridor before queuing in a longer line. When I went to get the jab, the room had an English teenager who the nurse was giving a list of instructions: “Don’t lift heavy things with the jabbed arm! Don’t worry if your arm gets sore!”.
I was preparing myself for a similar lecture but once my painful jab was over all I got was: “Wait for 10 minutes before going home!” (Moral of the story: Omani girl is tough, English boy is not!). When my ten minutes were over, I went home. The next day I had a slight fever and was sweating profusely for a few hours in which mom kept checking on me every couple of minutes, asking worriedly: “Can you breathe?”. I was fine the next day and kept pestering my cousin to get vaccinated. I urge you too - dear reader - to get vaccinated, as staying safe is always a wise choice.
(Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer and an author)