Blog: Local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross reflects on COVID vaccination experience

Local 4's Paul Gross receives his first COVID-19 vaccine dose.
Local 4's Paul Gross receives his first COVID-19 vaccine dose. (WDIV)

Local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross just received his first coronavirus vaccination -- here’s how it went:

Sunday was the happiest I’ve been for a very long time.

At that time, I wasn’t officially eligible for the COVID vaccine yet, and had been waiting my turn patiently (alright, impatiently). But then I heard that some (not all) Rite Aids, Walmarts, Krogers and CVS are giving COVID vaccines.

This vaccine is so precious that we cannot let a single dose go to waste. Each vial of the vaccine has five doses, and they only last six hours after being taken out of the vials. So if the store anticipates that they will have extras leftover before the end of the day, they need to get those shots into arms as soon as possible … anybody’s arms.

So I made a few calls on Saturday and got on a waiting list for a local Rite Aid, and a Walmart in Lapeer.

Well, you can imagine my surprise when my phone rang Sunday afternoon! I rushed out and met my cousin Sandy there on Sunday (she had gotten a call, too). We hadn’t seen each other in a year, so it was a joyous day all around!

When it was my turn, I was welcomed into a private room where Saida -- who you see pictured giving me my injection -- went to work. To me, it was no different than any other shot...except this one may save my life.

I was told that I had to wait fifteen minutes just to make sure I didn’t have any allergic reactions, and then was on my way home with plenty of time to make a homemade pizza for my wife and me.

More: Tips for a smooth COVID vaccination process

There’s been a lot of talk about side effects. As I sit here writing this at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, I am doing fine. I’ve been paying close attention to my body, and I had just minor achiness and a minor headache Monday, which I would rate at no more than a 3 on a 1-to-10 scale, with 10 being unbearable discomfort. In fact, I have almost no soreness at the injection site on my shoulder that some people say they get.

I want to close by telling you about the woman I met who was in line behind me for her shot. She told me that she doesn’t like getting vaccines, and never gets a flu shot. But still, she was getting her COVID shot because she knows it is important to do so. I truly admire her.

I know that there are a number of people who won’t get the COVID vaccine. Please understand that if you want to get back to pre-COVID normal, which is absolutely achievable, then 75-80 percent of us need to get vaccinated. If too many people don’t get vaccinated (and some surveys suggest they won’t), then the virus continues mutating into those variants -- some of which have already proved more contagious and deadlier than the “original” virus. And we’ll go around in circles fighting this thing.

Sure wearing a mask, social distancing, washing your hands and getting the vaccine help protect you from COVID, but that’s not why we do it. Rather, we do these things to keep COVID from spreading to other people if you get it.

So do the right thing and show people that you care about others! I consider my wearing a mask and getting that vaccine a true badge of honor.

-- Paul Gross

Local 4's Paul Gross receives his first COVID-19 vaccine dose. (WDIV)

Michigan COVID-19 vaccinations: How to find appointments, info on phases


About the Author:

Local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross was born in Detroit and has spent his entire life and career right here in southeast Michigan. Paul has researched, written and produced eight half-hour documentaries for WDIV, as well as many science, historical and environmental stories.