We are getting there. Medics and health professionals have been working flat out after a slow start that was not their fault to get everyone in priority groups vaccinated.
People are excited. Sharing their experiences on the phone and online.
This article tells of two different experiences of Covid vaccination. Andy is bouncing around like an Easter Bunny after his jab. Tracey is recovering from Covid-19. She believes her symptoms have been less severe because she has had the first jab.
As we have done since the start of this pandemic, we tell it as it is.
Has there ever been such a positive reaction to a health intervention? If we can defeat Covid, we should have a parade in Ludlow, even if that must wait to 2022. We should call out the marching bands, bang the drums and sound the trumpets around the town. We must also pause for those who have suffered and lost their lives. And of course we need to thank all the frontline workers including GPs, health workers and carers who have done so much to protect us.
These are two very different personal experiences.
I got the letters early on. You are clinically extremely vulnerable they said. Thanks guys, I thought. But that is my reality. It was easy at first as the days were growing longer and I could walk Mel the Collie earlier. Soon we were out at 4.00am. There were not many people or dogs but still more people you would expect to see. Everyone was in the same situation. We waved at each other and crossed the road. Shouted hellos but no close passing.
Market traders and friends supplied me with food and goodies. But I hit the wall around last May. I was missing the casual, often inconsequential, bits of chat grabbed on the street or in the supermarket that supports the social fabric of our lives.
I started going back to the Co-op on Foldgate Lane. Strictly 6.00am. First in. Often first out. It improved my frame of mind. No longer did I have to rely on deliveries. When the pubs opened, I dropped by, often with Mel the Collie who came to believe the only purpose of walking across the fields was the packet of scratchings at the end.
Then we had lockdown 2, followed by in short order by lockdown 3. It has been 11 months since I have been outside of Ludlow.
But V day came at last. My GP rang one Sunday evening offering a last minute appointment in the morning. I had to decline as it was Pfizer and I’ve had some strong allergic reactions in the past. If it had been the only vaccine available, I’d have gone for it anyway but I thought it sensible to wait. A week later, I got a text from Portcullis inviting me to book in for an Oxford AstraZeneca jab at Bishop Mascall.
It couldn’t have been easier. I went both ways by bus in the most cheerful mood. Friendly greetings all the way into the hall. I was so excited, I couldn’t stop smiling. No one could see my mouth of course but it showed in my eyes.
Quite a few people have experienced side effects, usually a sore arm or slight fever. I am lucky and have side effects at all. I didn’t even feel the jab going in.
But no vaccination for any disease is 100% effective. And I have only had one jab.
That means I am still in danger of catching Covid, so I can’t relax. I can’t socialise. Anyway, no one is set free from government restrictions by being vaccinated.
As I write this, I have Covid-19.
As a frontline health worker, I was one of the first in Ludlow to be vaccinated. I was sore and had a light fever for a couple of days. But then it was back to normal, working alongside a fantastic team of staff at Station Drive Surgery, as well as being a councillor and a hill farmer. I was also looking after a family member who was ill.
I was aware that vaccination does not give complete protection, even after two doses. So it proved. But I believe the vaccination has protected me from a more severe infection.
My symptoms have been pretty grim. At times it was a bit scary. I have felt very weak.
I can’t talk much at present as that starts off a coughing fit. I can’t taste or smell. Eating is just going through the motions. I look at it. Fancy it. And it tastes of nothing or like carboard at best. At one point, my temperature rose to 38.5C.
Sleeping at night has been hard. It was the pain in my head and back that was the worst. I have drifted in and out of nightmares.
I was supplied a pulse oximeter. It clips on the end of a finger and checks how fast my heart is beating, how I am breathing and measures the level of oxygen in my blood.
At one point my SATS – that’s medical jargon for oxygen saturation – dropped a little. Again, it was a bit scary but using the pulse oximeter was also reassuring. As were the calls from my GP checking up on my progress.
Track and Trace also ring me every day and text and email.
I am slowly getting stronger. I am sure that if I had not had the first jab, I would have been more seriously ill. But my experience does show the need for two jabs, and for boosters in the future if we need them.
I am looking forward to getting back to work and helping people, including helping them get vaccinated.
Portcullis Surgery is also inviting volunteers to come forward to help people be vaccinated. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.