It finally happened: I got a COVID-19 vaccine appointment!
Hi again, it's Sara Moniuszko, and although my appointment is still days away, I am so excited to have finally secured a spot. It took a lot of refreshing the appointment website (and a few fake-out slots that vanished as soon as I clicked), but after multiple attempts, it happened!
Since the pandemic began, I've been writing about COVID and the impact it's had on all of us, from quarantine baking to pandemic mental health and vaccine side effects – and now it's my turn to take part in doing something that can help bring this pandemic to a close.
And I've got to admit, I was starting to feel a bit out of the loop as everyone around me – family, friends and colleagues – got their vaccinations. So I definitely feel like I'm part of the cool club now.
And I'll be honest, I'm a bit nervous. I have always had a fear of needles, so I'm not looking forward to the jab itself – but I am looking forward to what it means for my safety and others as well as the hope I'm expecting it to bring.
Unfortunately, some of us are experiencing the opposite of hope today after The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended putting a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Vaccination card freebies!
Obviously the most important part about getting a COVID vaccine is helping protect yourself and others, but there is one more perk: free stuff!
As my colleague Kelly Tyko writes, the free shots can be the start of a freebie fest.
Being vaccinated can get you free Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Samuel Adam's free beer and more.
There's also the chance to get paid by your employer to get vaccinated. Many employers – ranging from grocery chains like Trader Joe's, Aldi and Lidl to retailers like Dollar General, Olive Garden and McDonald’s – are offering time off or extra pay.
To read more about the freebies being offered, click here.
Meet Prancer, the puppy everyone wants
No, this isn't the "Today's pet" section of the newsletter (that's further down). This is a story from the week that will make you laugh.
Animal lovers around the world are asking to adopt a New Jersey Chihuahua after his foster mom shared a shockingly honest review of his personality traits on social media, writes my colleague Dustin Barnes.
Meet Prancer, a 2-year-old described as a "haunted Victorian child in the body of a small dog that hates men and children," according to an April 7 Facebook post by Tyfanee Fortuna.
"There’s not a very big market for neurotic, man-hating, animal-hating, children-hating dogs that look like gremlins," the post read. "But I have to believe there’s someone out there for Prancer, because I am tired and so is my family. Every day we live in the grips of the demonic Chihuahua hellscape he has created in our home."
To read more about this hilarious pup post, click here.
Need a pick-me-up? Here are 30 cute puppy photos to make you smile
Here's how Muslims are celebrating Ramadan in year two of the pandemic
Mark your calendars, the Oscars are April 25! Here's everything to know about the all-star "cast" list for the show
Grandma's got game! Meet this 58-year-old grandmother and video game streamer
Love bacon? IHOP released a new bacon milkshake, bacon waffle sundae and more
Meet Sheldon, a 3-year-old Russian tortoise.
"He has brought me a lot of peace and joy, especially during the pandemic. He is about 3 years old," writes Dena Jackson of New York. "He is a vegetarian, who loves radicchio, romaine lettuce, & other greens. His favorite foods are some flowers though... I look forward to spending time outdoors with Sheldon again as the weather gets warmer."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: I got a COVID vaccine appointment and finally feel part of the club