New York, NY – It’s about three weeks since my first COVID-19 vaccination shot.  Aside from the sore arm, I am happy to report there were no side effects. I did not experience a fever of any kind. No nausea, aching, or any flu-like symptoms. Being a healthcare worker made me eligible  for the shot, which I secured through one of the NYC’s vaccination portals.

My appointment was set for 4:30 at Metropolitan Hospital Center, located at 1901 1st Avenue between 97th and 99th streets. I stopped at the information desk at the main entryway and asked for directions to the room where the shots were administered. There was some confusion regarding my attendance because the man sitting at the information booth was unaware the hospital was giving out the vaccine to anyone other than hospital employees and people above the age of 65.  After assuring him that I had an appointment, and that I met the criteria, the man pointed to the hallway and said, “Go all the way to the end of the hall and make a left. Keep going until you see the line.”

Naturally, I was concerned once I heard the man refer to “the line.” The line, however, was not long at all. The system was very smooth. I filled out the necessary paperwork. I showed my credentials and proof of healthcare employment. Then I was directed to stand in a room with somewhat large circles on the floor as a reminder to remain socially distant. The nurses were pleasant and polite. Of course, there were some people that were less than courteous. There were a few people on their cell phones. There was a man that came in without making an appointment. He did not wear his mask properly nor did he adhere to requests to adjust his mask properly over his nose. He was kind of belligerent. In spite of all that, the vaccinations were administered and the line moved both smoothly and efficiently.

Up front, in the waiting area a sign on the wall informed everyone that the Moderna vaccine was being administered and that the next shot would be available in four weeks. I waited and until I heard my name called. I was escorted by a nurse to one of the stations that were sectioned off in the back. I was asked a list of standard questions before receiving the shot. The nurse was pleasant to say the least. She was actually here from another state. She came to New York City to help with the vaccination process.

So how did the shot go?

Please note that I am not a small man. I am heavily tattooed and I can carry my own weight. However, I am terrified of needles and I hate getting shots! In this case, the shot was quick and virtually painless. I was also offered a healthy snack while I waited the standard 15 minutes to ensure there were no immediate side effects.

In total, after filling out my paperwork and having my information entered into the system, I was in and out in less than one hour.  Round two is coming up, folks. It’s time to put the virus behind us. 

Ben Kimmel is a proud member of the IUOE Local 94, as well as an Author, Writer on, a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Certified Addiction and Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach, and Peer & Wellness Advocate.  Ben can be reached at


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