The 15 minutes after getting a Covid shot can be a time of profound emotion, a moment of relief or gratitude or release as you wait to make sure you don’t have a bad reaction to the vaccine.
So we were curious: If you got vaccinated in a pharmacy, did you wander the aisles while you waited, and if so, did you treat yourself to something impulsive or important or out of character?
We recently ask readers what they indulged in. We received hundreds of responses. You told us stories of celebration, practicality, and occasional mishaps — and we asked our photographer Kyle Berger to re-envision some of those stories. Here are a select few with your responses, edited and condensed for clarity.
What items did you buy during your observation period? I bought a can of Penn tennis balls and a four-pack of High Noon hard seltzers. I then went from the pharmacy to the tennis courts to meet a friend who was also vaccinated that day. We played a boozy match with sore arms, where we were both incredibly woozy and dry-mouthed. The next day was brutal.
Why did you buy these items? Celebratory! We were excited to get out in the world and be active together after getting the vaccine. We probably should’ve waited a few days before the side effects subsided.
— Thea Traff, Los Angeles
A gift for heroes
What items did you buy during your observation period? As a twist on this question, I did not buy something for myself in the moment but bought a big pile of gourmet chocolate bars for the staff giving shots. I tied the pile in a big Aqua ribbon and gave it to the man who administered my shot. I asked him to share it with the others.
Why did you buy these items? Everyone working to vaccinate our community is a hero. I’m grateful for what they do and what they put up with!
— Kari Nelsestuen, Portland, Ore.
What items did you buy during your observation period? Since lockdown, I became a chocoholic. It started innocently. While waiting my 15, I fell upon a Russell Stover display. I ripped open the cellophane of the incredible peanut clusters. I felt no guilt as I went through the box. Paying for my half-eaten dinner, the cashier offered me tissues to clean off the chocolate smears on my lips and fingers. Thank you, Moderna.
Why did you buy these items? Oh, I celebrated. I never bought chocolate prepandemic.
— Kevin Larkin, Los Angeles
Some pizazz for Covid hair
What items did you buy during your observation period? Reese’s peanut butter cups and old-fashioned hair curlers!
Why did you buy these items? Totally celebratory. I RARELY eat a peanut butter cup, and because I have crazy long Covid hair I wanted to give it some pizazz.
— Gab Carbone, Lambertville, N.J.
Perfume for the teenager in me
What items did you buy during your observation period? Drakkar Noir perfume.
Why did you buy these items? I have no idea why I bought it — probably something subconscious about being able to smell things without a mask. The hilarious thing is, I haven’t worn this perfume since 2002, and it smells like a teenage version of me going to the club for the first time.
— Y.V., Miami, Fla.
Healthy and not-so-healthy treats
What items did you buy during your observation period? Special organic “greenie” treats and bones for my dogs and a soon-regretted bag of Lay’s Classic chips I ate in the car in the parking lot. The dogs seemed pleasantly surprised — although one ended up puking a bright green puddle on my mom’s new rug soon after because of the unfamiliar snacks and a sly meal in the compost pile.
Why did you buy these items? I felt very emotional and grateful, and I wanted to spread the joy to my furry loved ones.
— Ariana Lewis, Atlanta
A road trip fantasy
What items did you buy during your observation period? A die-cast 1963 Volkswagen Bus toy by Welly (blue with peace, love and flower decals).
Why did you buy these items? During the pandemic, when the walls of our house seemed to close in, I enjoyed a long-running fantasy about buying an old VW van, loading up my two small girls and heading out on the road for weeks, maybe months (an extended version of the real summer car trips I made with my mom and brother when I was a kid). As I waited in line for my first shot at a CVS, I found myself standing beside a display case of Welly vehicles — and only one of the dozens on the shelves was a VW bus. I took it as a sign of some sort — not so much that I should, in fact, buy an old van, but that our world would soon open up again.
— Diane McKay, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
Boxed wine and Band-Aids (because they were there)
What items did you buy during your observation period? Bota Brick boxed wine ($9.99 on sale!), matchbox toy truck for my 2-year-old, three different kinds of hand lotion, Band-Aids.
Why did you buy these items? Boxed wine for celebration (also because it was on sale). Hand lotion because my poor hand skin is tired of being washed, Band-Aids because they were just there, and the toy truck for fun.
— Jennie Eldon, Corvallis, Ore.