Vaccine Supersite Interview | Byung Lim
Interview with Byung Lim
(The interviewer starts with an introduction)
Ian: Hi. I would like to introduce Byung Lim. He will be talking about his experience related to vaccination recently. Welcome, how are you?
Byung: Great! Going well!
Ian: Great! The first question is what was your experience with the vaccine from the beginning to the end?
Byung: My situation was very unique. Usually, I see friends, teachers, or partners in individuals when they visit. I went with my entire family in one car. I never saw that similar experience being mentioned by others.
My family and I were discussing how to arrange the visit. When my dad got approved to get the vaccines, we joined along. We all were unsure which time to choose, 3:30p, 3:45p, or 4:00p. We went ahead and decided to go together at 4:00pm to see if we would be approved to go together at the same time. On the same day we got approved, all of us. I started to look up on the super site website for information on attending as a family but there was no bit of instruction. We went ahead and carpooled then headed out to the coliseum in Oakland. Getting there was very easy, smooth. We showed our IDs. We were supposed to use QR code but we never got it, used our IDs instead to match whatever it is in the system. Everything matched on the iPAD and we were then instructed to drive forward.
At first they offered us an ASL interpreter but then my dad said he was willing to interpret. We all agreed to let dad interpret. As we drove down the lane, following the orange cones that guided us toward several armies, they dressed like one, or maybe they were from FEMA. They ordered us to stop the car then instructed us to go to the booths labeled with numbers. When we got to one of them, we started discussing where and how to park the car because we all planned to get the vaccines in our left arms. My mother was sitting in the passenger seat. I was sitting in the backseat. We all were figuring out how to do this. We just drop the discussion and see what happens, go with the flow.
The lady was very friendly. She noticed all three of us came together and she thought, “Fine! Cool!” We gave her our ids and she started filling out the form. My father got the shot in his left arm. Then the doctor told me to open the rear left door and slightly step out of the vehicle and turn around to give the doctor my left arm so he can give me the vaccine. There was no mention of needing to do the social distance. Apparently everyone in my family was fine. Okay.
We then departed down the lane. Oh, wait! Let me rewind. The doctor told us if we feel dizzy during the 15 minutes after the vaccines we need to honk the car. When we moved away in the car and parked to wait for 15 minutes I saw other signers in different cars around me. I did not know any one of them. That made me wonder. During the wait, I saw several hearing people in their cars start honking. Wondering what happens next, I saw an ambulance pulling in to make sure they are okay. One of them was transported to the ER. That made me wonder. Anyway, when 15 minutes passed we were easily exiting and left the site. There was no heavy traffic or waiting line. Nothing! Actually, we planned to get there at the site by 4pm but we arrived at 1pm instead. It turned out there weren’t many people. It was all smooth. Apparently, we didn’t have to follow the schedule literally.
Ian: Oh, I see. The earlier you arrive the possibility of getting the vaccines earlier.
How was your experience with registration?
Byung: Actually, we register under this county, Contra Costa County Public Health. The waiting list was very long. We decided to use the link our mother used, myturn.gov which was under the state of California by the government. Registering was very fast, it took like only 15 minutes. I was puzzled about the difference between the county and the state. Maybe it was because the super site is for mass attendance and locals the opposite.
While registering, we were asked if we were sick, feeling dizzy, any sign of symptoms in the past few days. We all answered no to every question. Then we were asked to pick a date. We were required two doses that we must revisit on a different date following either Pfizer or Moderna’s need of days before taking the second one. We couldn’t choose the second date and time whenever we like. The second date and time was strictly scheduled depending on which first date we picked. Have had gotten my first dose on March 1st means my second dose is on March 22nd. The registration was very smooth, and took only 15 minutes. The registration was accessible with different languages: Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and other languages to meet their needs. It was nice.
Ian: Nice. So it will be on March 22nd… When was the first day you got the vaccine?
Byung: Last Monday, March 1st.
Ian: So that’s two weeks.
Byung: It depends on which vaccine. I wasn’t able to choose one, Pfizer or Moderna so I got Pfizer. That would be 21 days. If it was Moderna, it would be 28 days so they will tell you the second date following which vaccine was administered.
Ian: Oh. Interesting.You already mentioned that you were in the car traveling without stepping out of the vehicle. Stayed inside the car and received the vaccines.
Byung: Yes. I was in the van. While the sliding door slid open, I was sitting still and turned around to get vaccinated in my left arm. There was no need to entirely step out of the van unless I needed to use the restroom. There were potty potties for us to use if needed.
Ian: Oh, I see. I see. How long did it take to complete the whole trip?
Byung: About less than 30 minutes. Actually, the drive was a total of 30 minutes plus the waiting time that added 15 minutes. So, the total was 45 minutes.
Ian: Oh, 45 minutes. Not bad..
Byung: Depend on when arriving at the site. If it was during rush hour then there would be a long line. It depends on what time you reserve.
Ian: Hmm. Was there an interpreter assigned to you? Who were the ones who led and gave you the vaccines? I know you mentioned your dad said he was willing to interpret, but were you offered an ASL interpreter?
Byung: Yes. Yes. Before entering the zone where we were asked for our IDs to match. I signed to them, “Deaf”. They showed me the sign that says, “ASL Interpreter.” I oh’ed but dad willed to take over interpreting. I thought to myself that I should have taken the opportunity to see what it was like without conflicting by using my family member as an interpreter. If I went to the site by myself I would have taken the offer. Being with my family… actually, there wasn’t much to interpret. When we arrived at a row of tables on the side of the lane the lady there asked the questions to each one of us. The questions were whether we were contracted with COVID-19, any symptoms in the past few days, and asked for our history of vaccines, any history of illness. We all said, “Nope, none of any of these.” There were only 4 or 5 questions before we got the vaccines.
Ian: Oh. Your experience so far seemed to be convenient. Do you have any tip for the community? Like save time, like how you explained that you arrived at 1pm instead of 4pm. That’s one of the tips, do you have any more?
Byung: Like… I wasn’t sure if we could go in a group, carpooling. Apparently, it was permitted that there can be a group of any persons such as family members or roommates carpooling for the day at the same time. All at once, can do.
Ian: Hmm. Also, something just popped up in my head… Earlier you mentioned that you couldn’t pick which one you wanted, Pfizer or Moderna. Does that mean they decide which one to give you? You couldn’t decide for yourself?
Byung: Yes. Yes. I did have my phone prepared with the question to ask them if I can pick which one, Pfizer or Moderna. When we got to the table where the vaccines were I saw a signpost that says “Pfizer”. It looks like depending on what day which vaccines were shipped. Maybe it was one day with Pfizer and the other with Moderna, depending on the shipment.
Ian: Oh. Umm. Do you have any more comments?
Byung: Actually, you would have to research to determine which vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna. Recently there was an announcement on the new vaccine, Johnson & Johnson. That new vaccine only requires one dose. Again, I learned something a few days before that it depends on your race/ethnicity that there could be a reaction to the vaccines. So for me as an Asian, Korean, Asian, I learned people like me out there were allergic and showed reaction to Pfizer. I was like, “Oh.” Many said Moderna was more successful by how it was made. So I asked my community, my parent’s church, and the result was that the high percentage is of those who were administered with Pfizer, and those who had better reactions to the vaccines were Korean. So we have to know our identity, ancestry, to determine which vaccine works the best. Most importantly, better ask your doctor whether it is a green light to get the vaccine. One of my friends had umm… L… umm… tryloid… sp?
Byung: Yeah. And the doctor said no, this person cannot get the vaccine. So the bottom line is you need to know your body and its needs.
Ian: Oh. Oh, that’s right. While you registered you were asked these questions about your medical background such as health conditions?
Byung: Right. This and that.
Ian: Oh. Yeah, just to be prepared for whether permitted to get the vaccine.
Byung: Yeah. If you don’t feel confident about it. Make an appointment with your doctor, if you feel that’s comfortable to get answers from your doctor to decide which, go ahead or not.
Ian: Oh. It’s good to check with your community, family, and places and do all that researching before determining whether to get the vaccine.
Byung: Yes. Yes.
Ian: Okay. I think that is it for today. Thank you for answering those questions. Thank you for your time.
Byung: No Problem. I am happy to be able to share my experiences.