Since the beginning of the UK’s rollout vaccination programme in late 2020, more than 18 million people have been vaccinated across the country. Currently, the second phase is under way, with Britain, along with Israel, leading the world in the number of vaccinations being administered.
Previously, the government’s main priority was for care home residents, healthcare workers, those aged 70 and over, and people required to shield, all to be vaccinated by the middle of February. The rollout has taken a wonderful turn and has been extended to those aged 60 and above, as well as those who are clinically vulnerable.
The over-50s are following close behind, with the government aiming to offer everyone in priority groups their first vaccine by mid-April. Recent announcements have indicated that the over-40s should receive their vaccinations in April too.
In the midst of all the good news, one question lingering around in everyone’s mind is the reliability of the vaccine. According to the NHS website, the government have reassured the public that- ‘The vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.’
Those who are called for a vaccination are alerted through text message, and are required to book an appointment at their local vaccination centre. I interviewed my mother Georgina Foster who has recently had her vaccination to find out what her experience was like.
She explained that beforehand she felt nervous as she wasn’t sure what to expect, but as soon as she was there, she felt at ease, due to the warm environment that welcomed her in.
After handing over her details, she was directed to a cubicle, where she was greeted by a comforting nurse. “When the nurse learnt that I was right handed, she said she would inject into the left arm. I received the Pfizer vaccination. The nurse also gave me a chitty for the second part of the injection which I would be expecting in 3-12 weeks.”
Patients are also told to wait 15 minutes after the injection to ensure there are no adverse effects.
After hearing such a positive response to the vaccination centre, I decided to visit to get my own impressions of how well the process was operating.
As I approached, I noticed the clear signage outside of the building, which directed people to the entry and exit. Outside there were a number of marshalls, all masked, and prepared to offer advice and help.
A man outside, who was a volunteer, said, “The fact that this country is second in the world to Israel in getting people vaccinated so quickly makes me very proud. It was all done in such a wonderful jolly way that there was a woman playing piano at the end of our experience.”
From what I have seen at the local level, it seems that the high spirits of all those who are on the front line of the vaccination rollout process are creating a joyful atmosphere, in which those who are receiving the vaccination are gladly sharing. It was wonderful to watch, and has inspired me to get involved and volunteer.
If the vaccination process keeps continuing to be successful, hopefully we will have an optimistic outlook for the summer of 2021.