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A nurse gives Nikki the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. They are both wearing face maskes.

Having the jab has given me hope

Nikki

At the end of February I received my first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

I’d waited for this moment, like most other people, for so long! When the government announced groups 5 and 6 would be contacted by text, email, phone or letter, I was thrilled to receive a text the next day with a link to book my slot.

I live in a relatively rural location and my GP practice joined up with others to use a large facility. Booking was easy, I entered a couple of simple details on the online site, and ta daa! I had a page full of options to pick from to suit me. Simple as that.

Once I’d arrived and been directed to where to go by stewards, a surgery nurse checked me for symptoms. There was only one person in front on me and there were plenty of space and seats if we needed – plus a heater as it was a chilly day. Within 5 minutes of arriving I was called in. Two people in full PPE were ready and waiting with the jab, and my vaccine card was filled out with which batch and type I was receiving.

The jab was simple. I have the flu jab every year and it was similar to that. I had to sit in a large waiting area afterwards for 15 minutes in case of any side effects. My arm was very slightly tender like I had a small bruise but nothing more. It all took less than half an hour.

Having my jab gives me hope and positivity that we are edging nearer to the end of this difficult and challenging period of our lives. I can’t wait for jab 2.

Last year was a mental rollercoaster

I’ve barely left the village where I live. I’ve worked 100% from home stuck in one room, with Zoom meetings, emails and hours increasing week by week. Colleagues have struggled with a range of personal difficulties that are normally unseen in the office. Everyone has their own story to tell.

We know it’s been tough – and that’s for those without serious health problems to contend with too. We’ve wrapped ourselves up in our own mini cocoon bubbles to protect ourselves and those we love.

The unknown was scary. People rejecting the science or breaking the rules were scary, having no work was scary, shopping was scary!

Personally, the last year has been a rollercoaster. When restaurants briefly opened in the summer I cried my whole way through the meal. I was terrified because I was inside with other people I didn’t know, having been so careful and avoided those I did know.

As the weather moved into the winter months, I knew my mental health was being affected. Everything felt out of my control.

Finding me again

So, I took back control - I needed to ‘find me’ again. I've downloaded some of the music I used to love at school and played, sang and danced to it.

I've taken my dog out for a walk every day regardless of the weather. Seeing the joy and love in that little furry face lifted my soul.

With my husband I've had movie nights, with popcorn and pick ‘n’ mix! I’ve done loads of ‘adult colouring books’ (not rude!) which I love.

I’ve continued to read books and have virtual book club meetings. I call my best friend who lives 200 miles away, and my elderly aunty every Tuesday afternoon.

We have walking meetings at work where we take our phones, Zoom and earphones and show our colleagues where we live (and our dogs), and promise not to work past 6pm.

In short, I’m living, not existing. I’m finding joy in the smallest of opportunities to interact with others. A short chat and thanks to the delivery drivers, a cheery hello rather than crossing the road to those I don’t know, sending people little surprises in the post.

Having my jab has given me hope and positivity that we are edging nearer to the end of this difficult and challenging period of our lives, I can’t wait for jab 2. Roll on the summer when we can all start to carefully come out of our cocoons, spread our new wings and fly again.

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