Tag Archives: vaccine

Peace of Mind

I am three weeks on from my first Covid vaccination jab. From this time forwards the protection is working. My body has learnt what to do with the virus if it gets into my system. It gives me a great feeling of confidence and security when I’m out and about. I still wear my mask and wash my hands regularly of course, but there’s the knowledge in the back of my mind that if I were unfortunate enough to contract Covid-19 again, it wouldn’t be severe and I almost certainly wouldn’t need hospital treatment. Isn’t that astonishing? The virus only came into the human population in December 2019, and 12 months later we have a highly effective, widely available vaccine. It’s truly incredible.

I wish to God that the world would work just as fast on climate change. In my mind that is an even greater disaster than Covid and we don’t seem to be doing much about it.

I Had The Vaccine Today, Here’s What Happened

I arrived at the centre early this morning after giving myself a pep talk about why I shouldn’t be nervous. In the past I’ve had drugs for all sorts of diseases, malaria, yellow fever, typhoid etc due to travel, and haven’t once had any strange reaction or significant side effects other than a sore arm. So, I told myself firmly, there was no reason to be scared about this one. It’s been given to nearly 10 million other people, most of them very old, frail, or unwell so why on earth would I waste time and energy thinking about how it could harm me when it hasn’t harmed anybody else at all, out of millions?! This is what I told myself. It’s all true, but…

People with health anxiety can have unrealistic worries about taking the simplest of medicine so a new vaccine is a bit out of my comfort zone. But I knew it was the right thing to do and would benefit me and my loved ones, and indeed wider society, a great deal – and is far, far easier to go through than getting the illness itself.

Back at the centre I was greeted by a staff member who ushered me into a small side room where I confirmed my date of birth, NHS number, and a date for my second dose of the vaccine. I was also given some paperwork stating what vaccine I was having (Pfizer BioNtech) and a list of possible side effects – which I definitely didn’t want to know about! Then I was lead out of the side room into another small room where a nurse was waiting for me. I sat down in a chair and she asked if I’d ever experienced a significant allergic reaction to anything before, I confirmed I hadn’t, she asked if there was a chance I could be pregnant, I guffawed, and then she stood up and prepared the vaccine. I was feeling pretty nervous by now. I needed the loo and had sweaty palms and my heart was beating fast. I took my jumper off and rolled up the left sleeve of my t-shirt while she drew some colourless liquid from a vial into a short needle. She then asked me to drop my left arm straight down, not hold it bunched up, and in a quick movement stuck the needle into my deltoid muscle. It was not painful at all, just a tiny sting… and it was only in for about two seconds before she pulled it out again and said, “there, all done!”

It was so simple. We chatted a little bit about hot flushes (I’d already said I wouldn’t put my jump back on in case I got too hot) and then she showed me out of the room and more staff directed me to sit in a chair in a side corridor, or in another room in socially distanced chairs. I had to sit there for fifteen minutes while they waited to see if I had a severe reaction, which I didn’t, and after my allotted time was up I was free to leave. I still didn’t feel anything adverse and was DELIGHTED with myself for going through with it.

I went straight from there to the canteen and got myself a cup of tea, which I drank while reading the news on my phone, and after that I volunteered for Macmillan for the next three hours as planned. At about midday I got a slight headache and took two paracetamols in case it got worse, but I can’t say for sure whether that was caused by the vaccine or whether it was one of my regular headaches. I’m in a migraine phase at the moment and have been taking strong pain killers for that for the past three or four days anyway. Today was the first day in ages when I didn’t wake up with a migraine – thank goodness!

Other than that I feel fine. Colleagues at Macmillan say they felt tired or dizzy, had headaches and an aching body after the injection, and many of them said they had very sore arms where the needle went in, but so far none of that applies to me. Just the minor headache. Tomorrow may be different – I don’t know. I’ll do an update at the bottom of this post so you’ll know.

In conclusion, without doubt it’s worth it to have the jab. I’ve seen the disease kill a man with my own eyes, and I’ve personally experienced getting the vaccination. The two do not compare – they’re opposite ends of the extremes. Even for people with health anxiety or GAD it’s much much better to get the vaccine than not.

UPDATE: Day 1 after the injection – no side effects whatsoever. Day 2 after the injection – no side effects I can directly attribute to the vaccination. Felt a little headachy, but that’s fairly normal for me.

Should I Have The Vaccine?

The facts:

Me: Caucasian woman, 51 years old, no underlying conditions, but volunteers in a hospital. I’ve been offered a slot to get vaccinated next week. The vaccine will be the Pfizer vaccine (I know this for various reasons). My questions are:

  • How effective is it against the ‘new’ UK variant (the Kent variant) of the virus?
  • Would it be better to wait until the Novavax vaccine is released?
  • How effective is the Pfizer vaccine against the South African variant? Or the Brazilian?

I don’t feel I have all the information available to me to make a decision about what is best for me to do. I bet the Government knows the answers, and some scientists, but I would like to make an informed decision too. My gut is telling me not to have the Pfizer vaccine next week and wait for the Novavax but that depends on the answer to other questions: if you have already had a vaccine will it make you ineligible/bottom of the list for a second (likely more effective) type? The Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines are based on the early (first?) variant of the virus but will those first variations die out completely in a few months or will they hang around for years? How many vaccines will we be able to have?

The problem is I don’t really know how vaccines work or how delivery of the various types against the different variants of the virus is going to be organised. I don’t know what to do for the best.

It’s Mutated!

Horrible news. The virus as mutated – a new variant has been identified – and infections are increasing exponentially in my area. It’s awful. Back to being terrified again after all the hope the development of the vaccine brought. Now there are only questions:

  • how has it mutated?
  • is it more infectious?
  • is it more dangerous?
  • will the vaccine still work?
  • if you’ve had one vaccine for one strain of virus, can you have another vaccine for another strain?

It looks as if it’s going to be a very quiet Christmas. Perhaps just us three in the house, seeing no-one, going nowhere. How frustrating. The kids are going to be irreversibly addicted to their screens! I suppose it’s a small price to pay. We all need to be super careful from now on. Just in case…

It’ll be so nice when, one of these days, we can stop living in fear.

The Beginning of the End?

Yesterday was a big day. The UK became the fist country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for widespread use. People will be getting the jab from next week. The first to receive it will be those in the extremely vulnerable categories, the elderly and health care workers (which will even include me due to my work volunteering for Macmillan). I must privately admit to being a little apprehensive, if I’m being totally honest. I know the vaccine is not made of a live virus so there’s no possibility of me getting Covid-19, it’s not that that worries me. It’s more the fact that it’s been developed and approved so very quickly and that it is an RNA vaccine – a type of vaccine which has never been done before. I feel apprehensive about it, as I think many people do, because once it’s in, it’s in, and there’s no going back. I’m worried about side effects. But then again, the side effects from catching the virus and possibly getting Long Covid are said to be far, far more unpleasant than any possible side effects from having the vaccine.

Today, three ex-Presidents of the United States of America have pledged to have their vaccination jab live on television (Obama, Bush, and Clinton). In this particular case, we do want to see our leaders go first. I think it will reassure us.

Meanwhile the UK has come out of Lockdown 2.0 and into a new, stricter three tier system. My area is in Tier 2 (High). Restrictions apply, but shops are open. I will test this by buying a pair of new winter boots tomorrow.

A Covid-19 Vaccine

An effective working vaccine is very close now. It’s all over the news. The markets are surging with joy! This first one is an RNA vaccine, a type of vaccine which uses a tiny fragment of the virus’ own genetic code to make part of the virus inside the body so it is recognised by the immune system as foreign. It then gets attacked and destroyed. Early studies show that it can protect more than 90% of people from developing symptoms, which is more effective than anyone could have hoped for. Its developers, Pfizer and BioNTech, said it has been tested on 43,500 people with no safety concerns raised, and is set to be put forward for immediate emergency approval.

No RNA vaccines have ever before been developed for use in humans so it’s all very new. But everyone is so hopeful and excited by it. This is how it works:

They say that the first vaccinations may be given before Christmas 2020.

Isn’t that something?!

People will be ranked by age, with the under 50s the last to receive it. Residents and workers in care homes, and health workers, will be top of the priority list.

Fair enough, I say.

The Virus Has Mutated

17 million mink on farms in Denmark have been killed because a mutated version of Covid-19 has been found which could reduce the effectiveness of a future vaccine against the disease.

So because humans want to wear the fur of mink as a fashion statement, millions of animals spend short, miserable lives in prison before being murdered because humans want to protect themselves from a virus they gave themselves because of their cruelty to wild animals.

What do you call that?