I have an appointment to receive my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine tomorrow morning and I thought I’d share some thoughts on how I feel about that, and also how I plan to deal with any side effects that might impact my running.

For background, we live in Scarborough which is the eastern end of the bigger City of Toronto. While we don’t quite live in what is referred to as a “priority postal code”, some vaccination clinics in Scarborough are now offering up appointments to anyone born in 1971 or earlier who live here. Happily, that newly expanded criteria includes me.

Confusing Criteria

The vaccine rollout has been a bit confusing and inconsistent, especially in the Greater Toronto Area. That said, it’s a massive undertaking, bringing together many different agencies and groups. Despite some hiccups here and there, they have been doing incredible work to get websites and clinics setup. My hats off to anyone involved in this effort. It’s truly impressive.

Here in Scarborough, as of yesterday, the eligible groups were expanded for those booking through the Scarborough Health Network.

If you live in Scarborough, you can see if you qualify at this website. For those outside of Scarborough but still in Toronto, VaccineTO.ca has been really helpful for us and Vaccine Hunters Canada is another crazy good site (and Twitter account) that is providing invaluable info for people across the country on who can sign up, when and how. Check these sites out and educate yourself and those around you about the different options.

Vaccinations and Running

I’m already in the midst of a bit of a step-back week here for mileage, so this first dose appointment is well-timed for me. My plan is to run 8-10km tomorrow morning before my appointment and then rest for about 30 hours after the shot. I’ll pick up the running again on Thursday afternoon with a shorter 6km run if I’m feeling fine. If not, I’ll drop back to 3km just to continue my run streak and evaluate day-to-day from there.

Based on the experience of some people I know who have been vaccinated, I can expect some arm pain and maybe a bit of fatigue or tiredness with the first dose. I’m hoping it won’t linger too long but I am more than happy to take it easy for a few days as the vaccine does its thing. As far as marathon training goes, the timing is pretty ideal. I have a 32km run this weekend that shouldn’t be impacted, and my second dose will be well after the race at the end of May.

I’ll provide some thoughts and/or updates on how things go here and probably on my YouTube channel as well (please like and/or subscribe).

Vaccine Envy and Guilt

Talking about being vaccinated a touchy subject, I know. Vaccine envy is real and quite understandable. I feel significant guilt that I’m going to get my shot tomorrow even though I’m legitimately in a cohort that qualifies.

Assuming everything works out as planned, I’ll take my first dose of the vaccination tomorrow understanding just what an incredible privilege it is for me.

I know I’m incredibly fortunate to be getting the vaccine and I realize that not everyone has the opportunity to be vaccinated right now, including people that probably need it more than me. That list of more deserving people includes others in my immediate family who I wish also qualified, but who will still have to wait a little bit longer.

I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging about this. My adherence to the social distancing, masking and other lockdown rules will continue as before. It’s been over a year since we’ve visited my family or shared a hug with my parents and we’ll wait a little longer before we finally get to enjoy a visit later this year.

In talking openly about this, I want to demonstrate that we should all be willing to get this shot the first chance we get. Check out those resources linked above and please do share what you learn and know with your friends, neighbours and others around you so that we can all get these vaccines into as many arms as we can as quickly as possible.