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22nd Jun, 2021

'I had the Pfizer vaccine this week, here's what to expect' - Standard reporter

Harry Leach 26th Feb, 2021 Updated: 26th Feb, 2021

MY GP surgery contacted me this week to say it was time to have my first Covid-19 jab.

I’m 28-years-old so felt guilty I was somehow ‘jumping the queue’, despite having a history of respiratory problems.

But the practice moved quickly to put my mind at ease, I should go, the woman over the phone said, and not only that but vaccines are going to waste every day due to their limited shelf-life.

A link was sent through to my phone offering me the choice of two evening slots for the following day. This was followed by a confirmation text of my appointment.

Arriving at the vaccination centre felt incredibly surreal; for the longest time it seemed like this day would never come.

I filled out a short medical form and was told by two volunteers to head upstairs. I handed back the pen I had borrowed, which was immediately sanitised along with my hands and where I had been sitting.

Upstairs was roughly 20 people, of various ages, sat in a waiting area.

I figured they were waiting to be seen, but to my surprise, I was told I was next in line and that they had already received their vaccinations.

A benevolent nurse gave me a patient number and guided me towards the doctor’s office.

I sat down and he asked me if I had any questions. I asked which vaccine I would be getting (Pfizer) and whether to expect any side effects.

He told me it’s very common to feel fatigued, have an ‘achy arm’ and/or a mild fever 24 to 48 hours after having the jab.

Uncommon symptoms, which may affect up to one in 1,000 people, included feeling really unwell and enlarged lymph nodes.

He rolled his chair around to my right arm and pulled out the needle and began asking me about what I do for a living.

I welcomed the small talk, expecting the needle to be in my arm for several long seconds, but it was in and out painlessly in no time at all.

When he rolled back to his desk and told me it was ‘all done’, I was somewhat surprised.

He told me to sit in the waiting area for 15 minutes, in case of any adverse reactions, which I did, and to take paracetamol if I felt feverish at home.

As I walked out the centre I couldn’t believe how brilliant the whole process had been.

There have been a lot of broken promises and mistakes over the last 12 months so it felt only right to be skeptical over the government’s vaccination programme.

But it’s clear that, so far, it has delivered on exactly what was promised. There’s even an argument for it exceeding exceptions.

The NHS is working at an incredible rate – nearly 20million already vaccinated – and I cannot thank our key workers enough.

As I’m writing this I’m wondering what the message is I want to convey.

I’ve realised it’s pretty simple: when your time comes to be vaccinated, do not fear it.

There is so much misinformation out there, but this is the only way that we can protect our loved ones from the virus and get our lives back on track.

Side note: I have zero side effects 48 hours after being vaccinated.

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