I received my first Covid-19 vaccination today – less than an hour from when I began typing this in fact. I have to say that, despite my earlier reservations at how fast the vaccination programme would roll out here in the UK, it is currently barreling along – I wasn’t expecting my first jab until April at the earliest, so was pleasantly surprised when I received the SMS message from my local health-centre last week. I was originally scheduled to have the injection yesterday lunchtime but, being my usual organised self, I forgot to add it into my Outlook calendar at work and then booked a business meeting in the same slot. Luckily there were still available slots this afternoon.
The process went smoothly, despite there being a queue of people when I arrived. Each person was asked their name and the time of their appointment by two people outside the door to the building, who would then give each person a piece of paper with their details (including the vaccine they would receive – the Astrazeneca jab in my case). There was some minor chaos caused by the wind blowing the little slips of paper that they gave to each person around on the table, but none managed to escape. More minor confusion arose when one of the staff tried to give my slip of paper to the person in the queue in front of me. They looked puzzled as to what had happened – perhaps the fact that we were both bald men wearing face masks didn’t help – but after calling out that the piece of paper was mine a couple of times, all was resolved.
The queue then continued into the medical centre building (not my usual one, but another in the area. Its within walking distance but I drove there, having done one of my C25K runs at lunchtime already, and not fancying further exercise). The queue followed the corridor into the building, myself and my fellow jab’ees staying the alloted 2-metres apart, then winding around a 90-degree corner and to a T-junction where a member of staff stood, directing people into the vaccination rooms as they became free. To the left was a seated waiting area for anyone who had driven to the centre to sit and be observed for 15-minutes after receiving their jab. The man in front of me told the member of staff that he didn’t have time to wait around, and was advised to let the doctor administering his vaccine know.
Shortly afterwards it was my turn to go in and I was directed to the nearest room to where I was waiting. A masked lady in a flower-patterned boiler-suit asked me to sit down, and then realised she had no doses of vaccine left, so went out to fetch more (and to re-fill her bottle of juice). Shortly afterwards she returned with a box filled with vials of vaccine and some syringes. She looked somewhat frazzled, and I can only imagine how tiring it must be to vaccinate what appeared to be a never-ending line of recipients. She mentioned that they had had a couple of “fainters” earlier in the day, which had scaused some delays. After asking me a set of questions about allergic reactions and so forth, presumably with the hope that I wouldn’t join the “fainters” (or worse), I was asked which arm I would prefer to receive the needle. Having no preference one way or the other, she asked me to uncover my left arm and swiftly administered the dose of vaccine. A momentary sharp pressure in the muscle of my arm and it was done. She wrote a time on a sticker and told me to go to the waiting area where I should stay until the 15-minutes had elapsed.
The waiting area had a couple of nurses who gave each person a card containing details of the vaccination they had received, including the batch number, and said to keep it safe as we would require it when we received the second dose of the vaccine. Those people who were not driving were allowed to leave straight away, but otherwise we had to take a seat and wait. The nurses would regularly circle the room checking if people were ok and looking at the times on their labels to compare with the clock on the wall before setting them free into the world once more. Fifteen minutes later I was released without any side-effects (or becoming a “fainter”.
So that’s my first jab complete. In a few weeks time I should have significant resistance to the worst effects of Covid-19 should I catch it, and in around 12-weeks I will receive the follow up injection.
While there are still concerns that some variants of the virus may be more resistant to the existing vaccinations, I am hopeful that this will lead us out of the worst of the restrictions we’ve had here in the UK and that there will be a return to a greater semblance of normality before too long. Fingers crossed!
A jab in my arm
Just one out of millions
To protect our lives
Olympus OM-2N, E.Zuiko Auto-T 135mm f/2.8 & Ilford HP5+ (@800asa). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°.
Taken on 1 March 2021