The race to vaccinate the U.S. against Covid-19 is underway, even as cases are on the rise and President Biden’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warns of a potential new surge.

According to our latest Red Zone report on Covid-19 in rural America, new rural infections are up about 9%, making this the second consecutive week that cases have increased since the three-month decline that began in January.

Recently, we asked readers to tell us about their own experience getting vaccinated in rural places. Were appointments readily available? Easy to make? How were vaccination sites run? How far did you have to travel to get a shot?

Below, three Daily Yonder readers weigh-in; and we’re still looking for more. Send us your own vaccination story and we may publish it in our next round of rural dispatches.

Susi Bains
Mammoth Lakes, California

I live in a small, rural ski town on the east side of the Sierra Nevada. After reading the stories of others who had to scramble for an appointment and then wait in long lines, I realize how extremely fortunate I am.

I pre-registered months ago to be notified when I was eligible for a vaccine. When it was my turn, I received an automated email from our Public Health department telling me to make an online appointment, which I did immediately. It was super easy, and I had my pick of days/times. In other words, there was plenty of availability.

On the day of my appointment, I walked right into the high school gym (this is where vaccinations were happening.) No lines. No waiting. I was checked in, and from there went immediately to a nurse who gave me my shot. I waited 15 minutes to make sure there was no reaction, and was on my way. In and out in under 30 minutes.

Being so remote, it is can be difficult to find the resources you need, but our Public Health department has done a stellar job in the way that they have organized the vaccine events. From pre-registration, to making appointments, to the actual shot itself… it was a breeze.

Barbara Frazier
Germfask, Michigan

I live in Mackinac County, Michigan. I received my second Pfizer vaccine on February 2. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services authorized vaccinations for 65+ on January 7. Schoolcraft County Memorial Hospital (SCMH) and Luce, Mackinac, Alger, Schoolcraft (LMAS) District Health Department had online schedules available the following day. The online scheduling process was smooth and trouble-free. My husband and I were able to schedule our first dose for the following Tuesday, January 12.

We arrived at the drive-up site about twenty minutes before our scheduled appointment, and received the vaccine at exactly the time of our appointment. We were then directed to a parking lot where a hospital staff person monitored us and others for adverse reactions for 15 minutes. Before we left, we made an appointment for the second dose, exactly three weeks later.

A drive-up vaccination site in Michigan. (Image submitted by Barbara Frazier.)

The process for receiving the second dose was equally smooth and efficient. We had only sore arms after each vaccine, and have had no ill effects since. I am very thankful to SCMH and LMAS. I know the hospital and District Health Department staff worked very hard to be sure the citizens of our four-county area were well cared for.

Michael Badhair Williams
Zirconia, North Carolina

It was a little over two months between the time vaccines were available and my first opportunity to get the Moderna shot.

Only a small problem: I missed the first call from our local heath department and so was placed back a week. You can bet I stayed close to the phone to be sure I was in line for the next week’s vaccine scheduling.

My first shot went without a hitch, except a sore shoulder for a day. My next inoculation is April 5, and I am looking forward to being back at work two weeks from then. Please get the shot and let’s all get back to our new lifestyle post Covid.

We Want to Hear From You

Do you have a rural vaccination story? Who’s offering vaccine clinics in your community? Was it difficult for you to get an appointment? Difficult to access a vaccination site? Were you called in from a “waste list” in an effort to use every available dose?

Send your rural vaccine stories and photos to us and we’ll share some of our favorites. Please remember to cover up any personal information that might be on your vaccine card if you take a photo with it.

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