When the call comes get your jab!!

Well I had my jab yesterday. When your GP calls please go and get yours. If you don’t a GP there are plenty of places where you can go to get registered.

Yesterday I went and had my first coronavirus inoculation. There are good and bad sides to the story but although I know that for some there is a down side I would still have no hesitation in going.

Why did I go and will go back again when called by the NHS? Well overwhelmingly it was for selfish reasons. I want to say as healthy as possible because if I do that not only am I keeping myself safe but I am also keeping my family and my community safe. I am also reducing potential pressures on our beleaguered NHS. That’s why I have always had my annual flu jab and even do the dreaded bi-annual poo test! If you don’t know what this don’t ask!!

I know I don’t look it (I hope) but I am now 68. So, I’m not in the top priority but when I was called, I went. What saddens me is that 10% of those in the higher priorities have yet to have their first jab. Some of these will have been for logistic reasons but some of these will be anti-vaxxers who either don’t think that the virus really exists or they think that they are endangering themselves by putting poison in their body.

I find such a view preposterous. I am old enough to remember the scourge of polio before a worldwide inoculation process has basically abolished it from the medical problem list. I remember seeing on the telly whole wards of people in iron lungs. Basically, they looked like coffins where all the breathing was done for those in the lungs by mechanical means. Condemned for life to no movement and very little opportunity.

100 years ago, Spanish Flu was rampant globally. It actually originated in the USA! Now flu still comes as a killer for a small number of people, but by and large is under control. That’s because of inoculation.

For arrogant people to ignore the anguish of our hard working and under pressure NHS and the evidence of what’s on the telly and in the media is a disgrace. Why does anyone think that simultaneously very Government in the world chooses to trash their economy and cause wide spread societal problems. It just beggar’s belief.

Anyway, back to yesterday! On Wednesday I got a call from my GP saying that my time had come! I chose a time and date that was suitable and turned up. It was incredibly well organised at the Valley Medical Centre. I had to queue for 10 minutes outside in quite a cold wind, but there was clearly continual movement. At the entrance there was a volunteer to sanitise our hands and more to move us safely around. Greeted at the door also by a receptionist my name was on the list and I was in.

3 minutes later I was in a cubicle where two lovely friendly fourth year medical students took me in hand. My name was on their list as well and we belted through a dozen questions on their screen about allergies etc. The injection didn’t hurt all. In fact, I have to admit that I was talking so much I didn’t notice it!! I was ushered out with an instruction to sit in the car for 15 minutes just to check there was no allergic response.

So far so good. I felt no problem at all until about 7 p.m. when I started feeling a bit under the weather. It still feels like flu but it clearly is passing much more quickly. By 9 p.m. I felt wretched and had a really bad night. Indeed at 14.30 the following day as I write this I have not fully recovered.

BUT not everyone suffers this. Most have no symptoms and less than 10% of the population will have anything more than very mild discomfort. I have let the relevant bit of the NHS know about my symptoms as they need to have all the information we can give them.

Even had I known I would be a bit rough for a few hours I would still have gone. This is my route to freedom. It is our route to freedom. Unless we can suppress the virus, it will suppress us. Do you want to go on holiday? Do you want to go to the pub? Do you want to get your business going again properly? Then we all need to get inoculated but don’t think that it’s a quick thing.

I am not yet able to resist infection. The inoculation I had yesterday is only just creating the resistance systems in my body and which will take about three weeks to achieve full efficacy.  My second jab will take place in about 12 weeks. Three weeks after that the vaccine will have a 92% efficiency. Until then I will behave as if I have had no vaccine.

 In fact, I will behave as if I actually had the virus to make sure that I am keeping everyone around me safe. By the end of May enough of us will have had both vaccines to begin to think of moving to a new normal of society. But the virus will always be with us. We haven’t got rid of the common cold, flu or AIDS. It’s possible that every year now we will have to have a Coronavirus job as those of us who are old already have the flu jab.

When the call comes please go for jab. It’s good for you and it’s good for everyone.

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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