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Triangle sales rep Melissa Abrehamsen receives her first COVID-19 vaccination. 

Because I choose not to watch hordes of news that’s filled with mayhem and drama, I wasn’t in the loop when Gov. DeSantis laid out the executive order that said it was A-okay for my age group (50+) to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

How did I find out? The front page of this here paper, the Triangle News Leader, the best source of good news. Shameless plug, I know. But a true one.  

As directed, I went to the published website:  lake.floridahealth.gov. Once there, I was redirected to MyVaccine.fl.gov and preregistered. By the end, the page indicated that someone would reach out to set the appointment. Afterwards, I was emailed and texted a message that they would never ask for my financial information or social security number. Which gave me the warm fuzzies that they’re on point to protect folks. 

The next morning, I got a call from Lake County First Dose Scheduling, and my appointment was made for the Lake Square Mall location in Leesburg, with instructions to take my ID and insurance card. 

Spoiler alert. I did not need my insurance card, so if someone doesn’t have one, they won’t need it.

Fifteen minutes early, I arrived at the site, which used to be a Sears department store. Outside, a staff member took my temperature and asked for my appointment time. 

Once inside, I marveled at the impressive open space, from the separation rope that you’d find at a theme park to designated area signs. 

I showed my ID to one of two women at podiums. By request, I personally met with the county’s lead public information officer, Samantha Shylkofski, who directed me to a preregistration table. I was met with a warm and helpful person who took me through the rest of registration and asked what arm I’d prefer for my vaccine injection. She warned the vaccine injection may hurt the next day and advised I get it into the arm I use least. 

From there, Shylkofski routed me to a holding area until a spot opened. Quicky, I was taken to a desk where a super helpful nurse answered my concerns and made sure I was comfortable. A beat later, the injection was over. A tiny, painless pinch. 

For precaution’s sake, I was taken to a holding area, where I waited 15 minutes before leaving. I was offered water and told to drink up and keep hydrated. The staff entertained us with witty jokes and a rogue moonwalk dance move until it was time to exit through the black curtains to the parking lot. 

When I commented on what a well-oiled machine they had,  Shylkofski said, “The space was created by former Disney employee Derek Smith.” 

I’d been expecting a DMV experience, but what I got was a theme park experience. 

If you’ve put off getting your vaccine because you thought it was going to be a nightmare, let me assure you, it is a dream.