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Vaccinations – what they don’t necessarily tell you

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To date, there has been a lot of publicity about the vaccination programme – but few articles explaining the full consequences from the sharp end. After receiving his first coronavirus jab, Philip Fisher shares some tips about making the most of the experience.

10th Mar 2021
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The likelihood is that you and all of your staff will be up for coronavirus vaccinations at some point in the next few months, if you haven’t got there already.

As has been discussed across the mass media, relatively small numbers of individuals are wary enough of the perceived consequences to miss out on the opportunity. On the other hand, the vast majority of the population and, one can reasonably assume, most accountants are desperate to get their shots at the earliest opportunity.

This accountant struck lucky over a week ago despite being underage. Therefore, as a result, I should now be protected to a reasonable degree against the ravages of Covid-19. I thought it might be helpful to share a few hints about the ways in which they can optimise their own situation and also be aware of some unpublicised side-effects.

From discussions with friends, it seems that there are a number of different methodologies being used, which seems odd. In my case, the local GP’s practice sent over a text late one Friday offering the opportunity to book a vaccination at a local hub about a mile away. The earliest slot was 9.30 on the following Sunday morning i.e. about 36 hours later.

Others have received their invitations in the post and there are apparently also a number of websites that can be used – if you qualify.

Ironically, the main NHS website bounced me on a flagrant example of age discrimination only a few hours before the text invitation arrived. Apparently, other sites give you a choice of date and venue for a vaccination.

Vaccine time

Frighteningly early on a very chilly Sunday morning, I took a brisk walk down to the centre, which was in one of those brutalist concrete nightmares in the middle of a high-rise housing estate.

Arriving at 9.20, the queue looked short but in fact zigzagged up the side of the very draughty building, meaning that one of the possible side-effects of coronavirus vaccination at that location could be pneumonia. Indeed, at Lord’s Cricket Ground a mile up the road, a 95-year-old friend was left waiting out in the open, cold, wet day for 40 minutes so play safe and put on the long johns.

Once inside, the operation was impressively slick, as you are passed through a series of four or five individuals to a lady who was probably a nurse and definitely eager to dispense the vaccine.

She said that there might be a little prick but the process was practically painless. As a reward, you leave with a card confirming that, in my case, the vaccine used was AstraZeneca but without a date for the second jab. This differs from centre to centre, as several friends have got firm dates 11 or 12 weeks away.

By late afternoon on Sunday, there appeared to be no side-effects – but this was illusory.

Later that evening

At the end of a Zoom call at about 8.30 that evening, I was literally shivering and shaking with a high temperature and headache.

The following day, I exhibited all of the standard symptoms of flu and basically had to write the day off.

For the next 48-hours, I continued to feel a little under the weather but was fit to work, if not at full tilt. In addition to the kind of tiredness you normally experience after a 24-hour bout of flu, my left arm was a little sore for a few days.

One of my most interesting discoveries was that on a quick straw poll of about a dozen recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine, two-thirds either suffered flu-like symptoms, migraine grade headaches or a combination of the two. Typically, these lasted between one and three days.

In summary, readers might wish to take away the following thoughts:

  1. Taking the coronavirus vaccine is almost certainly a good thing that could save your life and those of loved ones.
  2. Expect to queue and dress up warmly.
  3. Plan for at least one day during which you may be unfit for work and, if you are one of the unlucky ones, two or three.
  4. Bear this in mind when colleagues our having their jabs, since they may not be much use to you for a day or two after.
  5. Look forward to round two at an unspecified date three months into the future.
  6. Should you feel safer? The answer is a seriously qualified “yes”. Personally, before getting the second jab I still wouldn’t want to travel on public transport in the rush-hour or attend any large-scale indoor events, even with limited capacity.

The good news is that this is a step in the direction of normal life and that feels long overdue.

Replies (13)

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By SteveHa
12th Mar 2021 09:18

Your experience of actual attendance clearly differs from mine. My wait was around 5 minutes outside. Once in I only spoke top one staff member before being directed to the nurses. Less than two minutes later I'd been jabbed and was on my way, with a card confirming jab number 2 on 13 May.

Total time, less than 11 minutes.

I sympathise with the flu like symptoms, which floored me the following day. However, far from feeling a little sore, my arm felt like it had been hit with a sledgehammer.

Two days following, though, and after sleeping for 14 hours, I was back to full strength apart from the arm pain, which took 3 -4 days to clear up.

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By perpetual
12th Mar 2021 09:32

To allay the fears of those who may be reticent, I thought I would put down my experience.
I am quite a bit under the current age range, but a medical issue bumped me up the list.
Text on a Monday evening, appointment about 6 miles away for the Thursday booked online, distance not a surprise I live quite rural. A call from my doctors on Tuesday, to tell me I was on the jab list. Apparently, the notification system is not totally stitched up, as I had already been told and booked up.
Jab itself, 5 min wait in the car for my slot, 2 min wait outside the venue, in and jabbed in about 5 mins.
Astra Zeneca also, no flu effects but my arm did hurt for about 4 days after and the Sunday evening (4 nights after) I slept for 14 hours through alarms etc

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By jantill
12th Mar 2021 11:18

Your experience is somewhat at odds with mine.
My wife and I are aged 71 and 70. We received a phone call nearly 5 weeks ago from our GP's surgery for a vaccination appointment two days later on a Sunday afternoon at the local theatre.
We were directed to a parking area, greeted outside and immediately directed inside where we were asked our details. We were then directed to the main hall, sat for 90 seconds in chairs that had just been wiped then directed to a medic who vaccinated us with the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. It was all very smooth and efficient. I didn't even feel the jab.
For the next three days we each had a slightly sore arm around the vaccination area but that was all.
Now awaiting the second dose.

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Photo of MilesBW
By milesbw
12th Mar 2021 11:33

As accountants we are data processing experts, and we should seek out better quality data to ascertain the variability of after-effects of having a vaccination. So I went to the Zoe Covid-19 website covid.joinzoe.com .

The Zoe study is being conducted with Kings College London and Department of Health & Social Care.

Today Zoe has 4,624,357 volunteer contributors who send in daily reports about how they feel, whether they have had a Covid vaccination, manufacturer of any vaccination received, after effects of any vaccination. I have been daily reporting for about two months. It takes me about 20 seconds every day.

Zoe are very keen to get more people to use their phone and web app to report how they feel. This will enable Zoe to improve the quality of the data, by increasing the proportion of the UK population reporting each day. This is especially important now that the rates of infection have fallen so much.

In return for daily reporting I receive regular reports on the incidence of Covid-19 in my local area of the country. There is far more information available via Zoe than I need, but it should satisfy the hungriest data hounds amongst us.

You can visit their website for more information and the Zoe mobile phone reporting app is free from Google Play and the App Store. The website is covid.joinzoe.com .

So what does Zoe find about after effects of having a Covid 19 vaccination? Sadly there is nothing published on the website, so I have contacted them and asked them to publish their results so far.

PS

My own experience after the first AstraZeneca vaccination was a mild itch at the injection site. Nothing else. The itch passed after 12 hours.

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By Jane S-D
12th Mar 2021 11:32

It clearly varies from area to area. I took my 91 year old mother for her first jab at one of our local hubs. All very efficient, no waiting outside. She had the AZ jab with no side effects whatsoever and is due to have her second jab later today.

I had my first jab (Pfizer) at the same place a couple of weeks ago. Again, no waiting outside. I was very tired that evening but otherwise fine. However my daughter when she had the Pfizer jab was very ill afterwards with bad flu like symptoms and difficulty breathing.

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By Moo
12th Mar 2021 12:14

I too experienced fever and flu like symptoms after the AstraZeneca jab but it hit me almost immediately and wiped me out for a good 2 days so I would suggest planning to retire to bed on getting home from the jabbing centre. Certainly don't assume you can fill the rest of that day with work or zoom meetings. If you actually feel fine that will be a bonus.

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By AndyC555
12th Mar 2021 15:49

Well, this all feels me full of joy ahead of my first jab on Monday.

The whole pandemic thing did bring to mind this wonderful snippet from HMRC's Employment Income Manual and the section on trivial benefits (EIM21863)

"Seasonal flu immunisations Where an employer provides employees with immunisations against seasonal flu (“flu jabs”), the benefit should be treated as trivial. This treatment only applies to routine seasonal flu jabs and does not apply to medical treatment of any sort or to other immunisations, such as immunisations against pandemic flu or other diseases."

So seasonal flu jabs paid for by your employer are trivial benefits but not if its a pandemic. I used to think this was funny.

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Replying to AndyC555:
RLI
By lionofludesch
14th Mar 2021 13:30

AndyC555 wrote:

The whole pandemic thing did bring to mind this wonderful snippet from HMRC's Employment Income Manual and the section on trivial benefits (EIM21863)

"Seasonal flu immunisations Where an employer provides employees with immunisations against seasonal flu (“flu jabs”), the benefit should be treated as trivial. This treatment only applies to routine seasonal flu jabs and does not apply to medical treatment of any sort or to other immunisations, such as immunisations against pandemic flu or other diseases."

So seasonal flu jabs paid for by your employer are trivial benefits but not if its a pandemic. I used to think this was funny.

I often wonder why the task of writing this stuff is given to folk who are clearly maniacs.

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
12th Mar 2021 23:08

I too have an appointment next week at the Edinburgh Conference Centre, my other half who queue hopped due to a preexisting condition had her first about three weeks back, she was a bit out of sorts the following day (shivering on sofa with a blanket and some dreadful daytime TV film).

I have already booked number one son as my chauffeur, my only concern is I need to re-felt my shed roof so better get it done this weekend (today was useless as the heavens opened) as from the comments above I may not feel like clambering up the weekend after.

I should have been able to play the sympathy bit for what it is worth, bowl of soup, cups of tea, fetch me x please etc, catch is other half returns to school next week and I likely will need to appear dead before the kids pay me any attention.

The plus point is, with a March first injection I should get the second in June, so if we are by summer allowed to go abroad I might possibly get over to Sweden in July, by August 21 it will be two years since I was last at our house there which feels like eternity.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
14th Mar 2021 13:27

No queuing outside for me or Mrs Lion.

All done in five minutes, after which you were encouraged to sit in a waiting area for 15 minutes before you left. Nobody was actually preventing you from leaving, though.

No reactions for either of us - we both had Pfizer. The next one will be due at the beginning of May, maybe back end of April.

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By Dib
15th Mar 2021 13:35

Phoned by my local healthcentre a couple of weeks ago. Would I like my first injection on Saturday? Yes - come to the heath centre between 10 and 11 then.

Drove the three or four miles to the centre. Got out the car and entered the building. Was directed down a corridor into a room with half a dozen jabbing stations and was beckoned over to one of them. One nurse asked me some questions and typed my answers into a computer and the other was ready with the injection. I didn't even feel the jab. I was given the card (AZ) and advised to wait in my car for 15 minutes before driving. Felt absolutely fine afterwards but my arm ached as bit on Sunday and I felt a bit under the weather for a couple of days. On the Monday, if I had had to go to the office I would probably have worked from home.

Waiting for the second jab.

T'missus already gives flu jabs and got trained on Saturday to administer the covid jab. She will be working in a mass vaccination station in a local town.

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By Phoebe3384
08th Jul 2021 12:17

My wife and I are aged 71 and 70. We received a phone call nearly 5 weeks ago from our GP's surgery for a vaccination appointment two days later on a Sunday afternoon at the local theatre.
We were directed to a parking area, greeted outside and immediately directed inside where we were asked our details. We were then directed to the main hall, sat for 90 seconds in chairs that had just been wiped then directed to a medic who vaccinated us with the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. It was all very smooth and efficient. I didn't even feel the jab. https://www.peryourhealth.live/

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By Smithey78
15th Jul 2021 07:19

Thanks for the step by step tutorial.

https://www.firstcallonline.org/

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