I wanted to share this experience with you as I know so many people are feeling all the emotions about the vaccination programme and whether we will ever get out of this awful year we have all had. And to be honest, like many of us, I only know a handful of people that have had the vaccine so far as it’s such early days.
I want to first explain that I have had my vaccination today because I am in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable group. I am only 35, and I am aware that in some areas of the country the progress of vaccinating each of the groups is not as quick as others, but today was my turn and I want to say I am thinking of those that are waiting and have parents, friends, relatives that are also waiting to get their date. This post is not to spark ill feelings of any kind or to offend anyone that is waiting, each area of the country is working as hard as it can.
I have felt such a mix of emotions. The biggest up until this week has been sheer fear. How can they possibly inject me with something that I have been doing everything in my power not to go anywhere near! That’s a very basic way of putting it of course, I understand how the vaccine works but still it’s just such a strange feeling. I have spent so long now worrying about getting it and what might happen to me and my loved ones. Also I have to mention the fear of the unknown. Being so grateful to be getting the vaccine so soon and early also means I’ve been feeling scared that it’s too soon. It hasn’t been around long enough to know what might happen. I've not been able to speak to people that have had it. Will I get ill later down the line, will it not work, will it make it worse if I do catch it, will it make me drop down dead in 10 years time?! I’m sure we’ve all had these thoughts, but the closer the day comes the stronger the feelings of uncertainty. The way however, that I have dealt with these feelings is TRUST. I know some people will disagree with this, but I have faith in our NHS, in our doctors and nurses. I have had to put faith in them for my whole life and have had to be rely on drugs, vaccines and other forms of treatment and most importantly the intelligence of absolutely incredible people to be able to lead “my normal” version of life now.
Along with these emotions I have also felt excited. Like a tiny twinkling light is shining at the end of the longest tunnel imagineable for all of us, every single one of us will get this opportunity and it’s amazing. To have this option created for us by science and medicine is amazing, and the support network to get this administered to so many people so quickly is also amazing.
Today has mainly been feelings of anxiety, not so much about the actual injection (I’ve been poked and prodded my whole life so well experienced) but about how it will happen. I obviously don’t go anywhere where there are people around so going to queue and generally being indoors at the doctors with lots of people and not knowing how it will work has been playing on my mind. But I needn’t have worried… the process was absolutely run like clockwork and hence when I said on my stories that I felt so humbled this is the reason why. I just love this country. I love the NHS staff who are working tirelessly to look after us. But the volunteers too. There were people there to greet you, check you were well enough to have the vaccine and to disinfect the chair, that’s every chair for every patient, that you were directed to as well as the pen you needed to fill out your personal details (that’s every single time a bum touched a chair and hands touched a pen!) This process went well for me and wasn’t too daunting due to my age. As you can imagine I was the youngest in the room, and most of the other patients were just a tad older than me and struggling to hear and write, and every single one was seen too with utter respect and patience. This is a big deal to every single one of us, no matter your age or even health condition.
After going inside I was in a room of 9 chairs where after confirming personal details and some health questions, one at a time, each of us when ready rolled up our sleeve to have the injection. I was shaking a bit but it was over so quickly. I had to wait for 15 mins in the chair afterwards to check I had no reaction. They did warn me of a potential fever, aches and pains, mild flu like symptoms that I may feel over the next few days but nothing to worry about. It wasn’t until I left that I was overcome with emotion. This is it… done. The first step to the end of this god awful time that we have been through. I was told I will be contacted in around 12 weeks for the second dose.
I don’t want to go into which vaccine I had. To me that is not even a conversation. We are lucky that enough doses of a vaccine are being produced for this mass roll out. If there was only one available we wouldn’t question it so it’s not a debate I want to get into – nor do you have a choice, unless for medical reasons you can’t have one of them.
I’ve tried to keep it to the back of mind staying distracted with work all afternoon. I felt a bit sick straight after but think it was more the build up. I’m now 6 hours since and I do feel very nauseous and a heavy head and neck – nothing to be worried about or unexpected. So a nice early night and hopefully a much better nights sleep with no worrying. It’s done, I feel so proud – so proud that this opportunity was given to me and so so excited at the prospect of the end of shielding in a few months time.
Whether you are next in line, or still some weeks away from yours, I really hope this post has helped to reassure you. There is nothing wrong with feeling the worry, afterall we have been living in this pandemic for so long it’s almost become normality for us to worry. But it will end, and before long we will be looking back laughing at homeschooling, begging our bosses to let us back in the office and most importantly seeing each others faces, hugging, kissing and smiling. The joy is coming.
P.S - Ive woken up feeling fine with just a slightly heavy arm and no more tired than normal with 2 kids waking me up at the crack of dawn :-)