To think that the original small pox vaccine came from cows. Now we call almost all inoculations vaccines, but they’re not really. A bit like calling every vacuum cleaner a Hoover. Though in Poland apparently they were all Electroluxes. and the youth of today hoover with Dyson. Ah well. But that was a little digression.
I just wanted to share with you my surprise at the kindness and efficiency of the NHS. Let me join the throngs of saying thank you to the NHS. I wasn’t sure I would be able to be quite so enthusiastic a day or two ago, but I am now thrilled.
Let me explain. During the first lockdown when we were all enjoined – nay, forced – to stay at home – I found myself kicking against the pricks and looking for something legal to do elsewhere. God is good and quickly answered my prayer. I could sign up to go on a vaccine trial in a hospital of my choice. I was so excited. It meant I had to go on buses and the tube and go into central London. (Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in the Fulham road. )I’ve actually written about those trips before. I had to go six time in all, twice for blood tests and to receive four jabs – two placebos and two the real thing. Fabulous. This was before the Christmas that was not a Christmas, so I felt super privileged. When I went to the hospital t e first time, in the wonderfully vibrant Fulham Road, they asked me why I’d signed up. To get out of the house, I said. They laughed, and then told me other people were doing it for more altruistic reasons. Good for them I thought. But if I can help, why not?
Anyway I had my four jabs and the final blood test, but as the year wore on, it became increasingly clear to everyone that this Vaccine was not going to be accepted everywhere – not yet anyway. And we wanted to go on holiday and to Poland to see my mother in law. Meanwhile everyone else was having the Pfizer jab, first and second and then the booster. I was left with the knowledge that I had at some point been inoculated, and I felt very safe, but I couldn’t go to most countries in Europe. I did manage to go to Mallorca and Portugal and finally to Croatia – but the Christmas markets were a no no as was a planned train trip to Avignon. Blast. and I certainly wouldn’t be allowed into Poland.
Not good. At the last visit to the hospital I asked about getting the Pfizer on top of the Novavax. That’s when they told me that my first two jabs were the real thing. So I had actually been protected before last Christmas. That was good news. It also made sense to have the Pfizer now. So November 8 they arranged for me to have the first injection. But when could I have the second? They hummed and they ha’ad, but when I said I really wanted to go to Poland, they said I could ask for a special prescription to have it after three weeks . Remember that was the original idea that Pfizer had, before the powers that be decided it would be more politically astute to get the second dose after twelve. Anyway, i went back to the hospital, received my prescription together with a booklet full of warnings and came back to Ealing to get it done.
The walk-in centre was staffed by lots of young and very charming volunteers. I received my jab and then the fun started. How to record it? For some reason the app has no room for multiple records so they got rid of one. Not the out of date Novavax.. Oh no. They removed my record of the first Pfizer jab.
When I realised this I was horrified. I went back to the centre the next day, explained my predicament but they couldn’t help. I went home and began to search the internet. Surely I can’t be the only person in the world with erroneous records. And indeed, the NHS is well prepared for this. They give you a dedicated number to ring. So I rang it. They put the phone down on me a few times, but I am nothing if not persistent and finally I got through. A delightful voice at the other end listened to my tale of woe and then proceeded to write a little report. She very kindly explained that it might take up to three weeks to sort out but I was to be patient. Hmm.. But she read back to me what she had written- luckily, because some of it was wrong, but she gladly corrected it. There wasn’t a hint of exasperation in her voice. I don’t usually like talking to officialdom over the ether, but she made it so pleasant. At the end she reiterated that my Covid passport might take three weeks to sort out, but she made it seem so reasonable.
So I put the phone down and waited. The next day I looked and the site had crashed. Yesterday I looked again. and lo and behold, I am now the proud possessor of the correct documentation saying I have been twice inoculated by Mr Pfizer.
The world is again my oyster.
Oh no it isn’t. The rules seem to be changing again.