Well, after a year spent largely in a state of some kind of nervous anticipation, the wait is over. I have had my COVID-19 jab.
At the start of the pandemic, just the discovery of a vaccine was an obscure Grail to look forward to. Then, as vaccine trials proved successful, hope crystallised around a more precise event: the day I would receive my own vaccination.
I waited in a fever of pre-Christmas wonder as more vulnerable groups were prioritised ahead of me. It was like an advent calendar, or some kind of 12 Days of Christmas-style countdown: residents and staff of care homes; the over-80s; frontline health and social care workers; the over-75s; the clinically extremely vulnerable; the over-70s; the over-65s; five gold rings; the at-risks aged 16-65; people with learning disabilities; the over-60s; the over-55s––Gosh, it was close now; my anticipation was palpable. Almost me: the partridge in a pear tree.
And then the date of my own vaccination was confirmed––25 March––and I joined the statistics of 324,941 other people who had the vaccine that same day in the UK, without hesitation, fanfare, or even the slightest sensation of a prick in my arm.
And now the day is past and I am left in a slight Boxing Day limbo, wondering: What next? The expectancy that has sustained me through a year of lockdown is over, and I am left with a feeling of mild anti-climax and a sense of being adrift not knowing what lies ahead.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I feel massively relieved, grateful and privileged to be one of only 5% of the world’s population to have currently had the vaccine. Nevertheless, some degree of north European angst prevails.
What I need is a new staging post within this pandemic to look ahead to with optimism, particularly while the end of the affair still remains so far out of sight.
© Simon Turner-Tree
Simon Turner-Tree checks off the list of possible vaccine side-effects for anti-climax.