I just returned from taking my 12-year-old son to the Portland Expo for his first COVID vaccine and am filled with appreciation for the experience.

Nick Bloom, a certified pharmacy technician, preps syringes of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine before opening the doors on the first day of the Northern Light Mercy Hospital mass vaccination clinic at the Portland Expo on March 2. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

I’d like to thank Northern Light, the staff of the vaccine clinic and the city of Portland for the successful organization and execution of such a large and important undertaking.

My son has some severe allergies that require an EpiPen and never once did I feel concerned for his health while at the clinic. Doctors circulated to check on him, medicine was available if needed and I knew who to contact for help.

Rather than feeling like an ordeal, the whole experience was easy and painless (besides that one small jab in the arm). It operated like a well-oiled machine, from parking to hand sanitizing to registration to the actual administration of the vaccine. But more than that, the mood in the Expo was joyful, with bluegrass musicians entertaining us post-shot and colorful streamers guiding the way to the waiting area. It had the feeling of being part of something larger than our one small self, which is what public health is all about, after all: the “we,” not just the “me.”

May each of our shots benefit the greater collective good of health and safety, and thank you to the helpers!

Joanna Frankel

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