Well, it’s been a long time since the 11th of January, when I had my first shot of the Pfizer-BioNtech’s best.
It’s now time for shot number 2.
Hello, and again welcome back to the Aperture Science Computer-Aided Enrichment Centre. I mean the QE Hospital.
A 12-week wait… what is that all about?
Unlike some vaccination programmes, which have had people immunised in short order (2 weeks between shots), the UK has chosen a different method, extending the delay to 12 weeks.
The idea behind that is that more people could be vaccinated, with a base level of protection. Currently, the UK is immunising with Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, with Moderna starting its rollout.
I’m not here to argue with the medical science if that’s a reasonable decision or not (Feel free to dive into the medical evidence) – rather it is just how it is in the UK is doing things.
Your country may vary and its methods of immunisation may and will vary.
Booking the Second Shot
My second shot was booked in on the 5th of April 2021. It was organised on the day first shot. As such, I had no further actions other than to cancel and reschedule, or turn up and get my injection.
A few days before, I had a text message from the Vaccination Service – indicating I should keep my appointment and that it was operating as planned.
You may find that your GP or NHS Service you access will either write or text you when your second appointment is due. Ensure your details are up to date (as well as your medical record.
Note – the 5th of April was Easter Monday.
Well, it’s one way to spend an Easter Monday I suppose.
With everything organised, all I had to do was to haul my backside over to the vaccination centre on the date required.
Where did I get vaccinated?
Once again, I went to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Birmingham.
How Did I get there?
Rather than taking an Uber/Ola back and forth, I chose public transport – and at £4 for the buses all day, I wasn’t arguing at all.
Buses in Birmingham – even on a public holiday are not that bad at all – with value to be had (even when using their pay-by-contactless car services).
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is around 3 miles from where I live or a 20-minute bus ride from the City Centre. Once near the QE, I hopped off the bus for the short walk to the Immunisation centre.
Once I got to the QE Vaccination Centre, there was no queue to get in – it seems a lot of people either forgot that the 5th of April was a bank holiday or that they came to be shot a lot earlier in the day.
I was checked in and sanitised my hands. Once that was done, there was no waiting, other than to obtain my NHS Number on a slip to give to the data entry clerk.
With that, I was sent to a vaccination station.
Once there, there was a nurse and a clerk to confirm my details (name, date of birth, if I have had any other shots, etc, etc). Once those were done and I had consented, I got my second shot.
Once that was complete, I was directed to a holding area for 15 minutes for observation in case of adverse reactions.
With no reactions of note, after 15 minutes, I was sent on my way, with a complete vaccination card.
Any side effects?
It’s been a week since I’ve had my second shot. The main side effect was my right arm being sore. Again.
If you’re used to sleeping or resting on your side – be warned.
This lasted for about three days before settling down back to some sense of normality. For whatever is normal anyway.
Has it been recorded?
With travel starting to be on the horizon, it’s important to ensure that my shots have been recorded correctly.
And paper cards can be faked, no matter what people think.
Thankfully, there is a useful tool you can use to find out if it has – and it’s the NHS App (not to be confused with the NHS COVID-19 App).
If you’re an Android or Apple user, you can get the app through the appropriate stores for free. The download page is https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/online-services/nhs-app/, with details of it are https://digital.nhs.uk/services/nhs-app.
Once you’ve downloaded the app, you will need to register for an NHS account (note, you’ll need your passport or driving licence to complete the process).
Once complete and you have permitted the app to link to your GP, you can access your medical record.
For convenience sake, here’s mine, with the two shots and dates showing within the app.
And no, I’m not showing you the rest of my medical record.
If your vaccination details don’t show up after a few days, contact your GP Surgery to establish what is going on.
Could this data form the basis of a vaccine passport? Quite probably. We’ll have to see what Her Majesties Government comes up with… or not. But it’s a bit more secure and recorded than a bit of card…
Am I going off gallivanting around the world?
It’s been two weeks since my second shot now, and yes – I am still grounded. This is due to the the government ban on discretionary travel at the moment.
That could change after the 17th of May, which is the earliest date that discretionary international travel will resume. It also depends on which countries will accept travellers from the UK as visitors, as well as how the UK is going to implement its travel programme.
No doubt – travel will be expensive thanks to the instance of a bucket load of tests insisted by governments – which will give pause for short trips.
I have an open mind when to travel and I suspect it will be short notice when I pull the trigger to travel.
But for now, my feet are firmly on the ground – supporting those who vaccinate, who support the vaccination programmes
And yes. I miss travel. But for now – I will remain grounded… until the time is right.
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