Wednesday 24 February 2021

I've got the Pfizer in me

A jab invitation

Early last week, I received an SMS Text Message from my General Practitioner (GP) Practice inviting me to book my first COVID-19 vaccination. The message included a URL to a third-party website working for the NHS.

I thought I will be walking up to my GP Surgery some 350 metres away for the jab as I had done just about 4 months ago for my influenza and pneumonia jabs, but that was not the case. The website was offering two locations just about a kilometre and a half away from my home. One of the locations did not have available slots, so I was left with just one option.

Appointed to a long walk

The earliest day for the jab I could find was 9 days away and just not to mess up my day at work, just in case I have an adverse reaction, I took a late slot and that happens to be today, a Wednesday. I received a confirmation message and then a reminder yesterday.

Meanwhile, last Thursday, I got a call from my hospital where my consultant runs her practice asking if I had been contacted about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Whilst responding in the affirmative, since I have a better rapport with my consultant who I see much more frequently than my GP who I have never met, I had some concerns.

Choices for protection

Being a frequent traveller to South Africa, the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine would not provide the best protection against the South African variant of the COVID-19 virus, it is said to be less than efficacious that South Africa abandoned the rollout of the vaccine. [BBC News: Covid: South Africa halts AstraZeneca vaccine rollout over new variant] [GOV.UK: Information for UK recipients on COVID 19 Vaccine AstraZeneca]

As a member of a vulnerable group, I had to be vaccinated but also with a view of knowing I am protected against strains in locations I might visit. My best option was the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and I had to be sure that was what I was getting. The hospital offered to give me that, but I did not want to cancel my earlier appointment just in case they had it too. I obtained details of how to access the alternative before breaking off the call. [GOV.UK: Information for UK recipients on Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine]

Happily, what’s needed

Calling the other clinic, they did not know last week which vaccine will be offered this week, but they suggested I call sometime this week to find out. Thankfully, they were giving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine this week, which means I do not have to exercise my option just yet.

I left home with a lot of time to spare and got the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. 

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