My vaccination experience was a breeze

Observer’s Theresa Goodwin is not a fan of needles
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Kudos to the nurses, support staff and volunteers at Villa Polyclinic

By Theresa Goodwin

[email protected]

It took a little convincing and a comforting pat on the back from the warm and friendly nursing staff at the Villa Polyclinic to get over my fear of needles on the day that I eventually decided to join the queue to take the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Now, for the first disclaimer. Even though I am in my early 30s, I still receive my girly pink sticker and lollipop each time I donate blood or take a blood test at Mount St John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC) – yes!

From the onset, the thought of joining a long line and waiting in the hot sun for hours was not at all appealing to me, and was very daunting when I pondered it for weeks.

However, on a blessed Friday morning earlier this month, a colleague convinced me to go to the vaccination centre at Villa – and I was absolutely glad that I did.

I knew from the clock on my car’s dashboard that I reached the Point and Villa community about 9 that morning and it took me another 15 minutes or so, with assistance from villagers, to find the vaccination site.

Judging from the number of cars parked outside the gated compound, I knew that I had eventually arrived at my intended destination.

On the side of the gate closer to me were a number of people — old and young alike — waiting eagerly to get on the inside; some, I observed, even expressing a level of frustration.

However, although things on the outside seemed really chaotic and frustrating, when I eventually got on the actual compound, it was a totally different experience.

Immediately outside the entrance to the health centre was a tent where we were required to sit, socially distanced, and were given a yellow card to complete with pertinent information while we awaited further instructions.

Then came the ‘fun’ part. After submitting the registration cards, around five persons at a time were called, according their numbers, to enter the facility.

So, I was seated for about 10 to 15 minutes under the tent when my turn came to join the next batch of people on the inside.

At the entrance to the clinic, I was greeted by a very cordial usher who pointed me to the sanitisation area.

By this time the excitement was building, not about the needle or the impending jab, but just the excitement of knowing that after all the procrastination on my part, I had finally got to this stage.

So I sat, in my designated seat, and shortly after another pleasant individual ushered me into a room where a nurse was sitting patiently, waiting for me to enter.

After greeting her, I sat down as she took my temperature and informed me that she would be asking a few questions.

She asked my name, age, address, ID info, profession, medical history and whether or not I had any form of allergies to any medication.

By the time I was finished with the Q and A, it was evident that the next stage was going to happen and it was going to take place in another room across the hall.

Now, my nerves got the best of me at this point, yes! My mind was made up about getting the jab, however, it had now become evident that I was going to receive a prick in my arm with a very long and thin needle. Sigh!

Entering the room, I saw two warm and friendly nurses who spoke to me about the possible side effects and how the process would go.

With my volunteer photographer all perked up and ready to go, I nervously sat in the chair as my heart raced.

The nurse asked if I was ready, as she rubbed my left arm with a cotton swab preparing the area where I would receive the vaccine. I opted for the left arm thinking to myself that it is not my dominant arm and, in the event it becomes numb from the shot, I would not be incapacitated.

Prior to receiving the shot, the frown on my face turned upside down and I remember letting out a small scream. Somewhere in between the upside-down frown and the scream the needle went in and the entire ordeal was over – just like that.

No, I did not receive my lollipop or my girly sticker this time around, but I did receive a comforting pat on the back from the nursing staff who also stopped to share a photo opp with me.

After receiving the vaccine, I was then escorted to an observation area where I was told to sit for 15 minutes before leaving, to see just exactly how my body would react to the shot.

“How are you feeling?” I was eventually asked by a female staff. “Fine, so far,” I replied.

“This is your immunisation card. You must come back for your next shot on this particular date,” she said.

Back at home, around midday or so, I remember feeling extremely tired. Sleep became my best friend for the next 24 hours.

On the Sunday, I woke up with my body dripping with sweat, and I remember feeling cold at the same time.

I went through the rest of the day Sunday still feeling a bit fatigued and I had a slight headache. After an early night’s sleep, I woke up the following Monday morning “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed”, feeling like I could take on and conquer the world.

I felt comforted knowing that, along with my diet, my body now had a second defence mechanism to fight off the dreaded Covid-19 virus.

Now vaccinated and protected against Covid-19 (Photos by Angelica O’Donoghue)
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