Why I’m ‘aching’ for the Covid vaccine

Opinion piece:

Let me say, I am scared of injections. While not extremely ‘trypanophobic’, I have spent many years being fearful of vaccinations. I have avoided vaccinations at all costs, so never had the flu jab (despite having mild asthma) until December, 2020, when the realisation that ‘Covid-19 coupled with ‘flu’ would probably not be good, kicked in.

When I had the ‘flu jab, it actually wasn’t that bad, so I don’t know why I was so anxious about it, but it still doesn’t make me keen on more jabs.

As a university student, such was my fear of vaccinations, that I had my four front teeth crowned without any local anaesthetic. I have to say that was probably the most painful experience of my life – and not very pleasant for the poor dental student performing the task. After that, I learned to accept that dental anaesthesia was much better than pain.

I tried not to pass on my fear to my children, and dutifully took them all along for their various inoculations/dental appointments. Crowning glory moment was when my son had the meningitis jab at school and didn’t notice! Contrast that to when, as a child, my mother would take me to the doctor for my jabs, always with the promise that if I didn’t cry we would go to the Post Office for a ‘cut-out doll’ book. That bribery helped me to be a bit braver, but I still liked the Polio vaccine best – it came on a sugar lump.

I come from a generation of people where measles killed, polio led to many people struggling with disabilities, and one of my aunts had only one lung because of tuberculosis infection. We were not strangers to whooping cough, meningitis and rubella.

I’ve never had any qualms about long-mooted side effects of vaccinations (all my children had MMR with no problems, for example)  and have listened to numerous lectures (including one recently by Chris Whitty) on viruses and inoculation, so my concerns come from sheer irrational fear. I am sure jabs were painful when I was a child. I think the needles used were not as good, but a doctor can probably confirm this or otherwise.

So, along comes Covid-19. Various people I know have now had the jab, some with minor side effects of sore arms, tiredness and aches. It is salvation, the only one we have. Amazing work by scientists, and NHS staff rolling it out.

I can’t wait now to have mine. Oxford Astra Zeneca, Pfizer or whatever (not quite so sure about Sputnik!) For starters, people who have had it say they feel reassured that they have some protection. That’s good. Also, while Boris Johnson can create whatever road map he likes, I know that I can’t restart my life road map until I and many millions of others have had the jab.

Back in January, I agreed (as his remaining next of kin) for my father to have the jab in his nursing home. I saw it as important to protect him, but also to protect other residents and staff. If I have mine, eventually, I hope I can see him again as time is running short. He is 93 in March and has luckily so far evaded Covid-19.

People are het up about vaccine passports but I really don’t mind because I just want to be able to visit people and places again, at home and abroad. I do read up on and think about these issues but I am keen to see the economy providing jobs for people again, and schools reopened.

It seems that lockdowns may have helped reduce transmission but actually the only hope of anything like a full life relies on the vaccine. It feels to me like we have a social duty to protect people as much as possible.

I know not all will agree. I  have heard the conspiracy theories and choose not to accept them. As said, this is a personal opinion.

So, bring on the vaccine, and yes, I will travel or go in the middle of the night for it, if I need to. No bribery of a ‘cut-out doll’ required!




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