EDitorial ± 21-Feb-2021

Jab Done

Now into his 80s, my father-in-law had his first Covid vaccination just after Christmas -- the first person I knew to receive one -- and his second in mid-January. Then, in early February, my mum, my mother-in-law and my wife (probably due to a recent blood transfusion) all had their initial jab on the same Tuesday. Me, though? Peak of health, 54 but feeling 53, not likely to get the call for a few months. Days later, dear reader, I got the call.

Biking up to the Ivry Street medical practice I thought back to that 80,000 Suspects film, those extras queueing outside the Bath Assembly Rooms in freezing conditions, and in particular to the scene with actor Graham Moffatt nervously rolling up a sleeve. He doesn't make the film credits but, according to Wikipedia, played the role "fat man in vaccination line." That'll be me, I wrote, breaking out in a sweat at the sight of a needle.

Downstairs at the doctor's I sanitised my hands, confirmed my ID and, like some robotic droid, waited on the red line drawn in tape on the carpet; a faster-moving yellow line snaked off to the right. A sign on the wall told me that "the vaccine in use is Oxford / AstraZeneca" -- like the soupe du jour -- with the parenthesised "(British)" in eight point font. I had a better view of the woman ahead of me being done than I would have liked and looked away. Called through, there were questions to be answered:

  • do you work in a care home or the NHS?
  • have you had a vaccination in the last seven days?
  • are you taking part in a COVID19 trial?
  • have you ever suffered a severe reaction to an injection?
  • are you or have you even been a member of the Communist Party?

I'm Liz, said Liz the nurse. How are you with this sort of thing? Not great, I said. OK, she said, turn the chair this way and I'll shift over here out of sight; you'll hardly feel it go into the muscle. I was thinking that's the sort of detail I'd rather not know when she pronounced me all done. I gave it a few minutes standing outside, as advised, then whizzed back down Paget Road to resume Working From Home for the 47th straight week.

Hope you get yours soon. In the immortal words of the 1957 track by The Silhouettes, "yip yip yip yip yip yip yip yip, mum mum mum mum mum mum, get a jab."