It is Tuesday night, and I am feeling a lot safer than I have felt in a while: I have had my Covid-19 vaccination. Though it has taken me a few days of dealing with the nasty side-effects of the clinically tried Astra Zeneca ‘Oxford’ jab, I am truly glad I have had it.
I got my jab so early because I am a type-1 diabetic and I, like most other people during this pandemic, have taken risks. Some necessarily, some potentially not.
Though I have not felt ‘scared’ to go outside, living with diabetes during a pandemic was always running through my mind, potentially adding an extra layer of caution – those unanswerable ‘what ifs?’ constantly running through my mind, causing me to question decisions that I normally wouldn’t.
The good news for me is that type 1 diabetes is a condition which, though can cause underlying health problems especially if Covid-19 is caught, is a relatively easy condition to manage with time, routine and effort.
The sad truth is that other underlying conditions just aren’t as accommodating as mine and have rendered people unable to leave their houses at all during this past year of lockdowns and worry.
This shows just how important this vaccine rollout is, and how proud I was to be a part of it. It is, quite literally, a lot of people’s ticket out of shielding and back to normal life again: the cancer patients, the elderly, the people with dementia. The quicker that people are vaccinated, the quicker that these people can experience normal life again.
The vaccination programme is also a true triumph of local and national services working as one. Administered by a combination of local GPs, the army and volunteers, this is a collective effort of will, determination and dedication.
The speed and efficiency mixed with a dose of British humour and friendliness that I experienced from the moment I walked into my GP surgery to the moment that I was ushered out, promptly but kindly, was a true embodiment of the British spirit. An echo of the war time stories we hear of camaraderie and togetherness.
The vaccination rollout is a beacon of light in an otherwise desperately dark year – a year in which more than 100,000 people have lost their lives to this disease. That is why it is so important, and that is why I was so happy to be part of this process.
It transcends party politics and other divisive factors, and it is proof that the conspiracy theorists and Covid deniers will not win. This is our ticket out of this hellish year, and I for one am glad I got to punch mine so early.
By Tiernan Phipps
Lead image: Tiernan Phipps, (modified).