Friday 5 February 2021

Getting the needle

Here at the moment, the hot conversation topic seems to be the coronavirus vaccine roll out. Well it is either that or the more depressing infection rate or daily death toll. Last week's spat with the EU over the export of vaccines to the UK has spiced things up and shown the EU bullies that the world is watching them and is not impressed with their behaviour. The UK continues with its' speedy rollout - showing the rest of the world how it should be done. Their aim is to have offered every over 70 their first vaccination by mid February and it is looking as if they are on target to meet that deadline.
Ten days ago husband's brother in law, who was 72 last month and is seven months older than husband, received his appointment to have his first vaccination on Monday of this week. So, of course husband started to wonder when he would get his invite. On Tuesday a letter arrived for husband from the NHS, providing him with the information that he needed to make an appointment for his first vaccination. He wasted no time in logging into the necessary website, only to find that appointments were only available at a branch of Boots in the centre of Chester. Alternatively, the letter said that he could wait until his GP practice contacted him, which is what he decided to do, as we had heard that they were using a vaccination centre, which had been set up in a church hall nearer to us than the centre of Chester. Well, he did not have long to wait as on Tuesday lunchtime our GP surgery telephoned  offering him an appointment late on Wednesday afternoon. After a bit of dithering, as it was a slightly inconvenient time, he accepted and asked if I could go with him, although I am not over 70. So, it was agreed that we could go together. Really he needed me to hold his hand, because he does not like needles.
We left home at 5 pm on Wednesday afternoon for the 20 minute drive to the vaccination centre and were back home before 6 pm. Arriving early for our 5.30 appointment, marshalls in the car park indicated the parking options and explained the one way system in operation. At the door to the church hall we were greeted by a volunteer with hand sanitiser. Then another volunteer directed us to the desk handling our GP practice. Several GP practices are using this vaccination centre. Once checked in we were handed a questionnaire and shepherded into a queue for the vaccination. The queue moved remarkably quicky and within five minutes of arriving we had both been injected with the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine. But we were not quite done, we then had to spend 15 minutes in the post vaccination observation area. Before we could access this area a label with our exit time was stuck to the sleeve of our anoraks by another volunteer. This area was in a draughty marquee that had been erected at the back of the hall and was the worst bit of the whole process. Just to take our mind off things we had been given a leaflet about the vaccine to read. It was 5.30 in the evening, in the middle of the UK Winter with the outside temperture being five degrees Celsius. After that it took me all night to get warm! 

Now we just have to wait for the antibodies to do their business and the appointment for the second vaccination.
All in all, it was an impressively slick operation.