So, you've had the vaccine. Congratulations! How does it feel?
It’s a relief. When you watch the news and see all these poor people in hospital… Well, I wouldn’t want anyone to go through that.
How did you get to the front of the queue?
As I’m over 80 I’m in one of the priority groups. Everyone my age should be contacted by their GP over the next few weeks, either by phone or text message, inviting them to book an appointment.
I was lucky enough to receive a text for the second day of the Pfizer rollout and called my GP straightaway. It was a bit of a wait on the phone, but eventually I got through and booked my slot.
One of my friends has been vaccinated already too, but I know many my age who haven’t been contacted yet. I think it’s just a case of being patient, though I’d advise anyone who's changed their contact details to make sure their GP practice knows.
And you've had both jabs?
I had my booster just before the decision was made by the government to extend the length of time between both jabs. It’s now thought that just the one provides enough immunity.
How was your experience of being vaccinated?
They were incredibly organised. I had to go to a big hall in an adult education centre a short drive from where I live. When I arrived, there were staff to show me where to go, plus someone at the door to spray my hands and someone else to take my details... They were very efficient and helpful. I was also given a card with a record of the vaccination to keep with me.
Did it take long?
No, it’s very quick. The jab was over in a second and then I was taken to a seating area in another room and asked to sit there for 15 minutes, I suppose to make sure I felt OK before setting off home again, though I've heard that may not be necessary with the Oxford vaccine. Apparently, they were vaccinating people every four minutes, which is amazing.
Did you have to do anything to prepare?
No, nothing, but as they put the needle into the top of your arm, it’s a good idea to wear something that allows for this. For the first jab I wore a cardigan over a T-shirt and the second time around, I wore a jumper with sleeves I could slip my arm out of easily. And, of course, I had to wear a mask.
How did you travel there?
As I’m in a support bubble with my son, he gave me a lift and waited in the car while I went inside. If he hadn’t been able to take me, I would have booked a taxi or taken the bus.
Did you experience any side effects?
Absolutely none. After the first jab, my arm was quite sore the next day, but not enough to stop me from going about my day.
So your life can get back to normal now?
I’m afraid not. I still have to follow the lockdown rules and keep my distance from people and all that because it’s not yet known if we can pass the virus on to others once we’ve been vaccinated.
Even so, the whole thing was such a positive experience. It makes me feel very hopeful to know that more and more people are now being vaccinated every day. It feels like a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us.
For more information, please read the latest government guidance, Covid 19 Vaccination: A guide for Adults