Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine in St. Croix
Just a few days after arriving in St Croix, a lady mentioned that she just got her vaccine. She said “You can too even though you’re visiting.” Well now it was on our mind!
We found the medical office that she suggested online (https://plessenhealthcare.com/covid-19-vaccine-updates/) and sure enough, any US Citizen over 16 years old was eligible for it. How cool that we found a happy loophole. Our age group surely wouldn’t be eligible until summertime in the US and even then, could we get it wherever we were?
That Tuesday, I texted the number on the website (as it requested) and they asked if we wanted to come out that day? Wow it seems it’s going to happen!
We had the appointment all set up so we hit the road, it was only a short walk from where we were staying. A little nervous and also excited, we found “Plessen” but it was an eye doctor. And just behind there was the hospital but we still weren’t at the right place. Oh man, the office with the vaccines is further into town!
We called for a taxi to get out there and there were no taxis available. Weird! We were feeling a little let down and kind of hopeless. I texted the clinic to let them know we got a little lost but maybe we could come Thursday? They confirmed that it would be available then.
So Wednesday night we came up with a game plan to take the bus next to the house over to the proper location. And as a backup we could take a cab. The day was here, again, a little nervous, we walked over to the bus stop. When we got there we confirmed we were in the correct place. Then a taxi driver pulled up and said “I’ll take you all over to Sunny Isles Shopping Plaza (our destination) instead of you taking the bus.” We chose to go with him because we wanted to make sure we made it the second time around.
Once we arrived at the plaza, we searched for the building and landmarks we had seen on the website. And there it was!
The lady at the desk said she needed ID and our insurance card. As luck would have it we do have insurance now (for the first time in over five years) but it’s International. She said she’d try it.
As we sat down to fill in the forms a friendly Crucian (St Croix resident) let us know that the University was also distributing vaccines and you didn’t need insurance there. He even offered us a ride. We decided to try our luck so we filled in the forms and waited. We were a bit nervous that we might not be approved but were excited about the chance to get the vaccine now.
And then after a short wait, they called us in. We both received the Pfizer shot #1 and got our appointment to come back just after Easter. That’s a little later than we planned to stay in St Croix, but worth the trip extension to know that we’re protected from this darn virus.
On the Wednesday before Easter, we moved to new apartment to extend our trip. We also figured we’d be settled in by the time of second vaccine, just in case there were going to be a bunch of side effects for that second shot.
We were eligible for the second shot on Good Friday but they’d be closed that day so they asked us to come on Monday. We went on Monday and they were still celebrating Easter so they were closed. It seems we have to keep planning to go on one day and then come back again? At least we’re able to get the vaccine!
So on Tuesday, we went back over to the clinic to find about 50 people waiting. (I’d guess they all were scheduled for Monday too) It was a little tricky to social distance in this crowd so we just handed our cards to the receptionist and moved to a spot with some shade off to the side. It was 130pm.
The excitement grew as we waited outside and people were called in one by one. It felt like we were waiting outside of Best Buy on Black Friday. Everyone jumped up when it was their turn! The excitement started to go away though once we’d been standing there for an hour and a half. At one point, I went over and asked if I could please use the restroom, they pointed where it was and allowed me to go in.
Eventually, Neil got called in at 345pm and then 10 minutes went by and Maria never got called. Neil went over to ask “What about my wife?” There was some paper shuffling and apparently my card didn’t have the Ferraro part of my name so they couldn’t find my paperwork.
Once that was cleared up, I was able to get my second shot. Boy we didn’t leave until 415pm, starving!! And they would close at 430 pm. But we both had the vaccine now. We rewarded ourselves by going to the Pizza Hut nearby.
And if you’re wondering about side effects, yes we did get them. After the first shot, we had some light headedness and we both felt really drained. Maybe you’ve heard that the second one is usually worse? Well Neil had body aches for about 36 hours so it was true for him. I “lucked out” with just a little blurred vision right after the shot.
Overall, we’ll take the side effects in order to be able to travel again. And travel we did! St. Thomas, St. John, Jacksonville FL, Atlantic City, and then Chicopee MA (all within 6 weeks). Don’t worry though, we still wore our masks!