Coronavirus Diary 73 – I got my vaccine!

Wednesday the 3rd of March was a big day for me for several reasons, I had another #1 book, The Budget was held in Parliament (more on that next time) and most eagerly awaited of all it was the day the day I was to get my Coronavirus Vaccine.

As someone who spends so much of their time unwell with chest-infections, I first became seriously aware of the Coronavirus in 2019 and even mentioned it in my blog in December 2019/January 2020 several months before it seems anyone outside China who wasn’t a virus specialist seemed to have heard of it.

I’m pretty sure that I was on quite a few peoples short-list of people who wouldn’t make it through but hey, actually following rules works sometimes!   It’s all pretty obvious science  or at least it seemed so to me.   Vaccines are pretty old science and this might be a good time to drop in one of my older blog posts https://stephenliddell.co.uk/2014/10/18/edward-jenner-the-greatest-man-you-might-never-have-heard-of/

I got my first vaccine when a few months old, I’m sure 95% of people reading this must have done similarly and I don’t really get how not just with vaccines but so many other things, society has gone from a late 20th century level of knowledge back to something approaching medieval mumbo-jumbo .  Everyone uses science for their internet, their television, their mode of transport, even their water unless you draw it from a stream yourself.

I’d rather put my faith in scientists who have spent 40 or 60 years of their life entirely dedicated to research in bacteria and medicine than some half-wit with a Youtube channel from the middle of nowhere…. but maybe that’s just me 🙂  

The U.K. pretty much has the lowest level of anti-vax adherents in the world, partly as our healthcare and medicine is regulated differently than countries like the USA and I put myself forward to be a vaccine guinea pig last summer but was sadly declined and so I’ve spent the last 13 months largely sat alone waiting for this day to come.

I was categorised as a high risk patient and so have received my vaccine ahead of some much older people and a week before my vaccine I was contacted and asked what time and day would I like my jab so I opted for 4.40pm on Wednesday 3rd March.

Having had several mild chest illnesses with every one largely having the same symptoms of Coronavirus even since the summer, I was keen to avoid another and if having pneumonia and only 30% lung capacity is something you’ve never experienced, I can’t say you are missing out!

Getting your vaccine in winter is a lot like what I remember going on holiday is like when you hate flying.  You wait all year for it, are a bit nervous, very excited and it’s best to dress for when you get there, not your journey.

As anyone who gets a winter flu inoculation knows, it makes life a lot easier if you just wear a t-shirt when you need an injection.

As anyone who gets a winter flu inoculation knows, it makes life a lot easier if you just wear a t-shirt when you need an injection.

Everything ran like clockwork.  I arrived 2 minutes before my slot, gave my name to the receptionist who found me on the list and with my mask on and coat off, I headed off down the corridor.

There was a man 10 feet in front of me and the person administering the vaccine along with an assistant on the computer was asking him a variety of questions that would soon be asked to me.  When he was injected the man scream “Ow!” which widened my eyes before he said he was just kidding.

A minute later and it was my turn.  I was to have the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.  I’d have had any of those to have been approved to be honest but this was my preferred one for me due to the tried and trusted technology behind it.  Also I’m a big fan of these people giving it to the world for free as opposed to others that are both much more difficult to store, more expensive and admittedly out to make a profit.

I was only there for a minute or so, answering half a dozen questions and then I could ask anything I wanted which aside from one valid question related to my asthma and allergies, boiled down to which arm to be injected.  I’m right handed but sleep on my left side and I knew there was a moderate chance of it making me unwell and one arm in particular being sore.   I opted for the arm which would mean I wouldn’t get much sleep but would be able to make a cup of tea if I wanted one.

One, maybe three seconds at most and it was done, just like any regular flu jab.  It didn’t hurt one bit but then I didn’t expect it to.

My Covid-19 vaccine information

My Covid-19 vaccine information. The Oxford / Astrazenica vaccine provided free by the NHS

And with that I walked out with a big grin behind my masked up face.  I would be told when I would be receiving the final dose in 8-12 weeks but practically speaking, after 2-3 weeks of the first vaccine it was highly, highly unlikely that even if I caught Coronavirus I’d be very ill with it.

So I’m writing this now on Monday morning, a few hours before you might be reading it.  I didn’t get much sleep that night, partly because other things in real life caused a very dramatic day… such is my always eventful life.  I got up about 5.30am and was feeling very well if tired but between 7-8am I began feeling cold and unwell.  Achy joints, tired and sore arm, tired everything, head ache and a kind of burn or aching sensation at the top and back of my lungs when I took a deep breath.

I can see why some people complain about it, it wasn’t very pleasant and I’ve been told I had one of the more severe reactions but it is nothing compared to one of my chest infections.  In fact I found it curious to be ill in that way but so mild… like a normal person for once.  I just had soup that day but began to feel a bit better by nightfall.   Most people get no adverse reaction for any of the vaccines and the Oxford AstraZenica one is said to be the one that it is most likely to give miles side-effects for a day or two due to its heritage. 

I slept much better that night and gently on my still sore arm.  Friday I was still ill and very tired compared to normal but not like thursday and who is to say if the tiredness isn’t because of weeks of not much sleep.

Saturday I was pretty much back to normal and actually feeling more well than I had in several months and the same yesterday, Sunday.  I made the mistake of carrying some heavy objects in my almost back to normal arm and it did hurt a little but that was the only thing.

So I have just over a week left of shielding like a prisoner on death row in solitary confinement before I can begin to go outside properly and maybe even speak to people.  It won’t change my work or money situation one bit but it is a small and very necessary step for me to return to some sort of normalcy. 

If you’ve found the last year or more unpleasant just because you don’t particularly want to get the virus, or even don’t care about it but have had your restrictions impinged upon.  Imagine if you’ve spent 13 months all alone, high risk and with no income or support.      I’m so glad I’ve had it and as well as it meaning very soon I won’t be at risk of the virus, it also means I can’t pass it on to strangers which to me is equally important (stupid old fashion values of community and putting others first!) so if you were to book a tour in London with me then that would be ok too 🙂 

About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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1 Response to Coronavirus Diary 73 – I got my vaccine!

  1. Pingback: Coronavirus Diary 74 – The day I was debated in the Houses of Parliament | Stephen Liddell

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