On Thursday 25th of March, I received my first dose of the AstraZeneca covid vaccine. Upon walking into the community hospital I hadn’t really thought much of it, I was glad to be getting the opportunity to receive the vaccine as many people across the world will be waiting for significantly more time than me. I was glad that in the near future I would be able to care for my dad again, safely, and finally get to visit him in the care home with far less risk. Yet most of this hadn’t really dawned on me until the lovely nurse asked me if I was feeling nervous. I replied quite definitely ‘No, I am just really excited.’
The atmosphere in the vaccination room was palpable. Nurses were smiling and were filled with joy, even at 19.30 in the evening after what I can only imagine was a pretty hectic shift. After numerous compliments on my flared trousers, which evidently seemed to be the most colourful piece of clothing that had entered through the doors of the community hospital that day, I got the vaccine. After a year of blood, sweat and tears there was finally something that could bring us back to some sort of normality. I was guided to a waiting room where they asked me to wait for a few minutes before walking back home. At this point, I got into a conversation with a nurse who I am going to call Pauline but my memory is not my strongest asset so that could also be very false. She told me that before the pandemic she was a school nurse and had children a similar age to myself. She told me about how she was so cautiously optimistic to finally see some movement, some positive news, from what had been a really tough year within the NHS especially. I could see the care in her eye. She told me that she felt awful for students and had a laugh with her colleague about what they got up to in their wild 20s. She reminded me that there was support from the NHS for mental health and that I was never alone, no matter how isolated I may have felt. People like Pauline have been working day and night throughout this pandemic with just as much care and empathy as they started with.
As much as I didn’t enjoy the cold sweats and feverish shivers that humbled me that evening after telling nearly everyone on the planet I felt completely fine, I would very much recommend that you should take the vaccine when you are offered it. The pandemic has made me realise that one night of flu symptoms is a tiny price to pay to be able to safely hug my family again. I for one cannot wait.