With COVID-19 vaccinations well under way we wanted to share a staff member's personal experience of taking the vaccine. We hope that learning about the experiences of others and sharing key facts will help alleviate anxiety about having the vaccine and answer your questions.
With COVID-19 vaccinations well under way we wanted to share a staff member's personal experience of taking the vaccine. We hope that learning about the experiences of others and sharing key facts will help alleviate anxiety about having the vaccine and answer your questions. To learn more about the vaccination programme check out our It's Your Shot campaign. The campaign includes information about the vaccines, links to information in different languages, a Q&A fact sheet and a video interview with Professor Jason Leitch. Read the staff member's story:
I attended my vaccine appointment at the end of May and wanted to write about how easy the process was for anyone who is nervous or unsure about attending!
Of course, staff members in the College like me can’t tell anyone what to do – it’s your body and your choice. All I can offer is some information about the process and my perception of it. I have a bit of anxiety about anything in a medical setting but for anyone who feels uncertain or daunted by getting called, I hope this offers a little reassurance.
It’s important to know that you’re most likely to get your first appointment by booking using the official hotline and NHS websites. You’ve probably found out by now that you will also get an appointment through the post in a blue envelope. Please be wary of any unofficial and random text messages, phone calls or emails you get about the vaccine. You will never be asked to pay for it, it’s a free inoculation programme and there’s a lot of scams around just now! It also helps to be registered with a GP as the NHS will then have an up-to-date copy of your most recent address and health records, all held confidentially.
The test centres are different depending on where you live. I was asked to attend the Louisa Jordan, which is based in the Hydro. It was surreal seeing the gig venue looking like a hospital but the layout is easy to navigate. Staff help you and steward the area. If you’re given an appointment by letter that is difficult for you to attend, you can re-book and they’ll make sure you can get to the venue you’re asked to visit!
When you arrive, you need to make sure you have a mask and your appointment details ready. So make sure your phone is charged and/or you have your letter with you. The front desk will confirm who you are - nae queue jumping!
You’re not asked to wait long – even if the queue looks big it goes down in minutes. The staff are all trained in delivering the vaccine safely – the person giving me my vaccine is a dentist so she was used to giving injections in less comfortable places, like your gums! So I felt like I was in safe hands.
Staff take you through a short survey and make sure you’re not suffering from any other health conditions they should know about. They always ask you if you feel healthy and comfortable enough to receive the shot and you can ask questions. You should find out what vaccine you were given. You’ll get an advice leaflet on what symptoms to expect after your vaccine and staff can answer any concerns you have to assure you that feeling a wee bit under the weather is normal, and when in doubt to call your GP or NHS 111. They’re thorough and calm so they’ll take care of you.
After your shot (which is minimally sore and over quickly), you’re asked to sit for 15 minutes so any on-site first aiders can make sure you’re well enough to make your way home. From there, you’ve got your leaflet and some advice to know that if any symptoms come up, in the vast majority of cases they’re over quickly and can be a sign your immune system is working!
Everyone is different – my immune system is usually an over-reactor, but I can honestly say I had a sore arm and wanted a nice big sleep for a couple of days – that was it! I was expecting worse but thankfully for most people the symptoms were short lived.
I would always advise that any staff, or the wider SA supporting the It’s Your Shot campaign, can’t tell you what to do. You know your body and mind better than anyone because you’re responsible for your own health. Truthfully for me I felt quite emotional and fortunate to be receiving the vaccine because if it is a slow and steady way back to better national health, and after how challenging this year has been for many, that’s got to be a good thing. But the best advice I can give you if you’re unsure is speak to your doctor and tell them how you’re feeling.