14 April 2021


 I was in a video call when I received a phone call. I didn't recognise the number, so I assumed it was someone asking me about some accident I had been involved in and that hadn't been my fault. I checked whether I had a voice message just in case it might have been important after all, but there was nothing. I forgot about it.

The next day, that same number rang again. I answered, but mentally entirely ready to tell someone they had the wrong person. But it was the NHS! Did I want to get vaccinated against Covid? Hell yes! They offered me a slot that next Monday, and I took the first one they had available. Bring it on! I hadn't expected anything yet; I thought it would be my turn in May or something. So this was a lovely surprise!

I was aware that I was breaking a long-standing family tradition. My grandmother had tuberculosis, and died of that in 1951. Later that decade, a vaccine would become available, but it was too late for her. My mother, her daughter, contracted polio in the early 40s. Only a decade later, a vaccine would become available, but that was too late for her. In the female line of the family, it seems that people get unpleasant diseases in the last years before vaccination starts rolling out. So I suppose the traditional thing to do would be to make sure I got Covid before I would get a jab. But I'm really happy that I dodged that bullet! I evidently never met my grandmother, but slowly dying from respiratory disease sounds awful. Especially if you keep having children all the way till the end and you won't see any of them grow up. I have seen the damage that polio did to my mother's life. I'm really glad that disease never had a chance on me!

On the day it was my turn I rocked up at the University sports centre, that had been converted to an emergency Covid hospital. I don't think it had any patients ever; I think the actual hospital has always been able to cope. But now it was a vaccination centre. It was busy there! Which is a good thing. I parked up and walked to the entrance, where volunteers were waiting for us. And the volunteer that greeted me at the door was an old colleague! He had clearly decided that given that he was retired, he had time to put his energy to good use for general society. What a good idea!

He ushered me and two others inside, where other volunteers put us in a queue. That first queue went to reception, where they checked our names. From there we went into the queue for the actual vaccine. It snaked through the entire centre! But it was moving fairly fast so it was not a problem.

Then it finally was my turn I first had to confirm my name, address and date of birth again, so they knew exactly who they were vaccinating, and then the lady who would actually wield the syringe asked me some questions about whether I had relevant allergies and such things. And then she injected me! That was it! That was a tradition of several generations broken. It was such a small gesture, but with such great meaning.

I was then told to sit on a chair for 15 minutes just in case I would have an adverse reaction, but I didn't, so after these 15 minutes I was free to walk out again. I will be back in some six weeks or so! And then I will be fully inoculated. It feels good...

The sports centre a.k.a. Enfys hospital

You can tell it is still standing by in case the main hospital can't cope

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