We are grateful to have received our COVID-19 vaccinations; but the journey to receive them as private practitioners was a bit of a Wild West adventure. Adrenaline was at an all-time high leading up to both doses.
On December 31, 2020, we received an email from the New York State Dental Association informing us that openings to receive the first vaccine dose were available on the New York State Department of Health website. However, nothing showed up available except within a 50-mile radius search. The website was glitchy. There was so much buildup and then so much let down. Along with our colleagues, we refreshed the website by the hour and were fortunate enough to obtain a slot upstate. The spots were filled up in minutes by 11:53 pm on New Year’s Eve. We were ready to trek upstate to do what we had to for ourselves, our families, patients, and community.
Fast forward to the first week of January; the leaders of New York County Dental Society and several other local New York practitioners discovered that sites became available in New York City, walking distance from our offices. Unfortunately, these spots filled up in about an hour. We understood that the process could have been better streamlined but at the time, we were so grateful to receive our first dose. We got our doses at 125 Worth Street in downtown Manhattan and were in and out in 30 minutes. The process was easy and we both didn’t feel the puncture at all. For the next 24 hours, our arms were sore and we were a little fatigued but it was nothing out of the ordinary.
We were informed that we’d get an email later about scheduling our second dose. That expectation came with a journey of its own. For 2-3 weeks, we didn’t hear any updates and rumors circulated about how the city had run of out vaccinations. We were concerned that we wouldn’t receive the second dose, which would render the entire process useless. Fortunately, we and our colleagues were reassured after calling Allied Physicians. We received our second dose confirmation within a few days. The symptoms after the second dose were much more intense for both of us. We both felt the chills kick in at hour 12. We both had a headache, malaise, full body aches, and a large rash at the administration site. The symptoms diminished after 24-36 hours.
Despite being fully vaccinated, we both agree that there is a long way to go and we will need to do our part. Wearing masks and socially distancing work. We will not be changing our lifestyle behaviors or clinical PPE practices one bit. The vaccine is not fail proof as variant strains are emerging. As dentists, we have a lot of power in telling our patients and communities about our experiences to combat the anti-science movement so we can hopefully achieve herd immunity faster to live in post-pandemic world again.
Dr. Whitney Mostafiz-Levinson and Dr. Michelle Lee
More articles from Dr. Whitney Mostafiz-Levinson:
New York City’s Dental Organizations Mobilize Grassroots PPE Donation Initiative
By Whitney Mostafiz-Levinson DMD, Lauren Levi DMD, and Jillian Gerstley, MS
What Happens to Your Body When You Wear a Mask?!
By Whitney Mostafiz-Levinson DMD
Whitney Mostafiz-Levinson, D.M.D., M.S. is a Board-Certified Orthodontist in NYC on the Upper East Side. She is also an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthodontics at NYU. A Long Island native, Dr. Whitney studied Human Biology and Visual Arts at Brown University, graduating with honors. She completed dental school at Harvard School of Dental Medicine also with honors. Dr. Whitney completed her orthodontics residency at the historic University of Illinois at Chicago, where her research led to a Masters degree.