Hello, my name is Ellis and I am 52 years old. No, this is not an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, I have just joined a different group entirely – Covid vaccinated due to underlying health conditions…
I knew it was coming, of course, but would I feel guilt or the need to make excuses?
Well, I feel pretty sure that my ‘promotion’ in the pecking order won’t have unduly affected anyone, given the speed of the roll out.
My conditions are not my fault, I don’t smoke, rarely drink and any other vices I have do not affect my physical health. I have taken steroids to control ulcerative colitis for many years now and just when I was about to trial a new non-steroid drug, covid came along and all ‘non-essential appointments were deferred’. I also had pneumonia in my twenties, which can and has caused slight breathing difficulties. In short, if I caught Covid, it could well prove fatal in my situation.,
Having received my appointment by SMS and confirmed it via a link, I was all set for last Friday (29th January). The venue was my local doctor’s surgery, a mere four mins walk away.
I prepared by making sure I wore a short-sleeved shirt, to avoid the hassle of having to take my shirt off. Mask on, I approached the surgery entrance, had the mandatory temperature check and then they fished my card out of the A-Z folder sat on the nearby table. I was asked five or six standard Covid questions, which all had to be answered ‘no’ or else I would not be able to pass Go or collect £200.
My card was then handed to me and I was then told to follow the arrows. I was greeted by a doctor whom I knew,who explained the basic procedure and asked me to sign the consent/disclaimer form. Well, if you can’t trust the surgery, who can you, I thought and so I signed my life away, wondering briefly if I had just signed up for five years as an Amazon driver.
Into the vaccination room I went. It was pretty un-extraordinary. The nurse was pleasant, the injection was swift and painless and I was left with a feeling of ‘was that it?’
Next, I had to continue with the arrows into the ‘Observation Room’ which is mandatory for people who have been given Pfizer vaccines, but not Oxford.
So, more chance of serious side effects? Yes, but we are talking one in 100,000, or so they told me. You are given a 15 minute timer, during which everyone in there has a little natter. Were they looking at me and wondering about my age, I wondered? ‘I have conditions!’ I shouted out inside my head.
A buzz in my hand let me know the timer expired, I was handed the card that confirmed my vaccine and advised the date of the second shot.
In my case, it is on my birthday in April. Anyway, I was free to go. I did feel quite lethargic for maybe 36 hours, I am guessing as a result of the shot. But that seems to have run its course, and I am now back to normal – whatever that is.
So what now ? Well the benefits of the vaccine take 12-14 days to maximise. Even after that time, I still must feel Government guidelines, though specific guidance for those who have had their first shot should be made public by 22nd Feb. And what about Pfizer and the stories that there may be issues in obtaining enough doses needed from our European ex-partners. Well, the Prime Minister has assured us that we have nothing to worry about in that regard. Of course, there have been no U-turns on information given to us since last March, so I am totally reassured.
Finally, reflecting on the fact that all bar a few of my peers are as yet unvaccinated, I do feel a little bit of guilt, but given the fact that the announcement of my appointment received over 50 Facebook likes, perhaps I should reflect that most decent people feel happy for others and leave it at that!