This is my personal experience.
In Serbia, in the very early months of 2021, we were able to sign up online for the vaccine. We both signed up for any vaccine to be first in line for whatever was available. The aged and vulnerable were given the vaccine first. Now, it was the rest of the populace who were able to get the shot.
My husband is a national. I am a foreigner. He was called the next day to go to the local Dom Kultura for the shot. He got AZ. Because of the social healthcare. The shot was free. The second dose is 3 months later.
I was called several weeks later. I was told to go to the Sajam or fairgrounds in the capital city of Belgrade to get the shot the next morning. That is 4 hours north, I had to work. I did not go.
I am glad because the place was reportedly packed! Hours of waiting in long lines with far too many people is not a healthy idea in the time of Covid, the whole reason for the vaccine. A few day’s later the news channels made note that tons of internationals were crowding the facilities for vaccines since Serbia is one of the few countries that seems to have enough to go around.
More than a month later, I was visiting my neighbor and our Dr. friend told me Pfizer was coming the next week. I was not partial to any country’s vaccine, but something was comforting about hearing my own country’s shot would come to our small town.
Then, the following week, I was having coffee with my bestie. Her husband heard on the radio there was an open call for the vaccine at the Dom Kultura where my husband had been jabbed. I went early the next day to get the shot.
I was nervous but drove to town early in the morning. I entered the doors and they sprayed my hands with sanitizer and took my temp. The man asked, “Pfizer?” I said, “Sure.” I had no preference. But, if I want to go home this is a preferred shot to have on record. Some are not preferred, I am sure it is all politics.
The building was mostly empty. I went to the first table where a lady was filling out the form with the vital info that needs to be recorded. This info must be precise for the shot. It allows you to go abroad is so it must match your passport info. They are meticulous.
My Serbian is not great and I was alone. I am proud to say, I did just fine explaining my maiden name is my middle name when the paperwork was not right. I got the needle with no waiting and came home to work. I felt fine. The first Pfizer shot was no big deal. Just a sore muscle from the needle that lasted a few days.
My second Pfizer shot was three weeks later. This was a force to be reckoned with.
At this time, the Dom Kultura was packed when I arrived at 8:30 in the morning. Serbia was giving a monetary incentive for the unvaccinated to get the vaccine. This $$ incentive was enough to instigate the throngs to come out of the woodwork to get the controversial injection.
The night before I got an automated email telling me to come at to the Dom Kultura at 8 AM. The national office cannot communicate with all the cities and towns to arrange for things to be perfect. I found that the early hours were offering the Chinese vaccine. Pfizer shots began at 11 AM.
I came back about half an hour early. I prepped for my classes while I waited. My first class was scheduled to begin at 12:30 and I still had to drive back to the village. The place was still packed and the Chinese vaccines still had a wait.
I queued and was the first of three people in line after the Sinvac vaccinations were completed. I was one of the first three in line for Pfizer. My vaccines began at 12. One kind lady let me go ahead of her. I waited just a few minutes after the vaccine to see if I would have a reaction but knew I must get home quickly for my lessons. I was 3 minutes late for my first class… I missed it. But, I was grateful I had finished the second dose and was able to complete the rest of my classes.
I felt fine the first day, but that night the pain began. I slowly became overwhelmed with muscle pains. I felt like a steam roller had flattened me. I woke up in the night freezing and shivering. I did not have a fever. My body has a low normal temp, fevers are VERY uncommon for me. I piled on a thick blanket drank water and went back to sleep.
I was off the next day. I made waffles in the morning but was too week to do anything else. I sat down a few times while making waffles. I thought I might pass out. I felt rough!
I laid on the couch for the rest of the day. It was not a good day. The following day was much better. I was not 100% but could walk the steps without pain in my muscles. I think the effects were spread out over a few days. I am grateful to be back to normal now.
My experience with the system was good. The people in charge were orderly and kept control. One lady in the Dom Kultura was like a German soldier keeping people in line. I was grateful for the order. I am grateful for the opportunity. Thank you Serbia
The second dose, done and dusted. Waiting to see how Hubby’s second dose of AZ will be.