My Vaccination Story – Bobby Dutta


Recently, Local 1000 member Bobby Dutta received the COVID-19 vaccination. As a state worker employed by the California Department of Public Health, he was permitted to make an appointment through the Rite Aid Pharmacy website. We relate his vaccination story in the hope that it will encourage our members and ALL Californians to follow suit.

As most of you know, the FDA has authorized the emergency use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). My appointment was set for a Saturday afternoon at the Rancho Cordova Rite Aid Pharmacy located near Gold River. Upon arrival, I completed an insurance information form, signed some electronic consent forms, and was promptly ushered into a private room. Once inside, I was greeted by a very pleasant pharmacist in a very white coat. Within a couple of minutes, the pharmacist administered the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. No muss, no fuss, no waiting. After the vaccine injection, I was asked to wait for about 15 minutes while the pharmacy staff monitored me for any possible adverse reactions.

When you receive your first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you receive a vaccination card that tells you when to return for your second shot. Remember to bring your card when you return. However, if you have a severe allergic reaction after getting your first dose, the CDC recommends that you not get the second dose. The CDC issued this recommendation after reports that some people have experienced severe allergic reactions—also known as anaphylaxis—after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. You may consider enrolling in CDC’s smartphone-based tool, V-safe, which will monitor you for any adverse effects. V-safe also provides second vaccine dose reminders if needed and telephone follow-up to anyone who reports medically significant adverse events.

In my case, the entire process of getting COVID-19 was a hassle-free experience. In fact, they did not even check my ID. Given our history of racist, and sometimes dangerous, health policies and clinical experiments that targeted particularly vulnerable Black and brown communities, I certainly understand the reticence amongst my Union brothers and sisters not to be vaccinated. In addition to this history, a lot of mistrust around the COVID-19 vaccine has also been generated by the overall chaotic messaging around the pandemic. As an Asian American, I’m sharing my experience to amplify the voices of people of color like myself to ease fears, build trust, and disseminate proper information. Overall, COVID-19 vaccines are validated by the nation’s top medical experts to be safe and effective and an essential tool to help stop the pandemic and help us return to some version of normalcy. With all of this in mind, I heartily encourage everyone to get vaccinated.