University of Oxford
2 files

32548: Jab Week

online resource
posted on 2023-12-08, 22:11 authored by Lockdown2020 and Beyond Project

During the December and January, hearing anyone's parents and grandparents had their jab was a moment of joy to be shared. An octogenarian friend was called up on day two (Tuesday 15 December 2020) to have the Pfizer vaccine at a football stadium. She travelled there by bus along the same streets she'd watched planes drop bombs on during World War II, and afterwards said that she felt was "at the beginning of something big". The following day it was my eighty-year-old in-laws' turn. They called it "a momentous day", and the family breathed a collective sigh of relief that soon it might be safe to see them again, especially after our Christmas together had been suddenly cancelled.

As figures soared in January, lockdown returned for the country, along with the announcement that second doses were being delayed for twelve weeks. A long wait started as the groups were worked through; first care home residents and staff, health and social workers, then people in descending age order and the clinically extremely vulnerable. By March older friends were being called and those in at-risk groups, although some were missed, notably people with learning disabilities. The topic of conversation both at work and amongst friends and family was "have you been called?" or "do you have a date?" It seemed to be a postcode lottery as younger friends were called before older ones in some areas.

I got my NHS text on March 9, offering me slots in late March if I could travel up to an hour to Reading's Madejski Stadium or even further to Twickenham. I gratefully booked the earliest slots I could. Then that weekend, I got a further text from my doctors' surgery, inviting me to a local slot a week earlier. So, this Wednesday lunchtime I cycled across town to a health centre, got my Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine and was in and out within five minutes. The doctor had already done 77 jabs that morning, and the centre was vaccinating around 800-900 people a day. Today, 20 March, the UK broke a record as 711.156 people were jabbed. By now, 26.8 million people, over half the adult population of the UK, 90% of over sixties have been vaccinated. The target to vaccinate all adults by the end of July seems achievable, provided stocks hold out, and that second shots can be administered.

As many friends and colleagues were vaccinated this week, the talk turned to the side-effects of the jab. Although many people seem to experience a reaction involving headaches, aches, shivers, feverishness, fatigue and nausea 9-10 hours later, it appears to clear up within a day or two. No one seems put off by this, they are just grateful for being able to have theirs so soon whilst other countries have hardly started their roll-out. Fears across Europe about blood clots caused some countries to stop vaccinating for a few days, with many appointments were cancelled, although the ban has since been lifted. There are also anti-vaxxers here in the UK, for a number of reasons, from fear of needles to conspiracy theories, health to religious concerns. It's unsure at the moment whether there will be vaccine certificates or passports issues to allow people to travel abroad or attend events in the UK, or what will happen to those who refuse to have a vaccination.


About the picture(s)

The card given to you at the test centre, which details your batch number in case of side-effects, and my steward volunteer tabard, which I've not had a chance to wear yet as there are so many people volunteering







Usage metrics

    Lockdown2020 and beyond


    Ref. manager