Saturday 18 September 2021

We're jabbing in the name of flu

We’re jabbing

On Wednesday afternoon I received a text message on my phone from the NHS on behalf of my GP’s surgery or maybe the other way round, it does not matter, I was being invited to the flu clinic on Saturday with a link attached to a registration website.

To those of us without Internet access, we were advised to key back a response of NOWEB, though I could not find any instruction for those without a phone. They might have received a letter instead.

In any case, I had 4 different online options to book my appointment, the NHS app, the Patient Access website, Evergreen Life (I have no idea who they are, but if they are selling the elixir of youth, that is worth an investigation), and myGP app. You could text a message or call a phone number after noon on a weekday.

What a surprise

I chose the NHS app and successfully booked an appointment for 9:03 AM, I had never seen so many appointment slots by the minute like I did on the calendar of appointments, the top, half, and quarters to and past the hour had been taken that the nearest I had to any of the cardinal clock points was 3 minutes past.

For a Saturday morning that requires a lie-in at the best of times, that was a tad early, but not by what I observed when I got to the surgery, a queue, a long queue about 10 deep and getting longer by the minute. Now, that is a first in my years of being a patient on this General Practitioner’s register.

Registration was prompt and conveyor belt-like, and soon a doctor, a doctor, yes, a doctor, for I have never met a doctor at my local surgery, nurses, many, receptionists indeed, but doctors were rarer than gold dust. My medical agenda is managed by hospital consultants for long-term care who instruct or inform my doctors of what other NHS services should be engaged.

The doctor was administering the flu jab when he asked if I wanted it in my left or right arm, I showed him my leg to which he quipped, interesting and rather unorthodox. I took the jab in my left arm and after a dab with cotton wool, I put my jacket on and made to leave.

I doggone got jabbed

Before stepping out of the surgery, I was given a leaflet, much like being given the menu after your meal. The flu jab is Flucelvax tetra, the tetra providing protection from 4 strains of influenza that the medical establishment thinks might be of concern in this flu season. Wisconsin, Washington, Cambodia, Tasmania, Darwin, Phuket, and Singapore are the well-travelled influenza viruses on the prowl for the vulnerable.

Meanwhile, the only side effect is the slight pain at the injection site, I returned home to rest, so the tiredness might have been catered for. The vaccine was prepared in cell cultures. Madin-Darby Canine Kidney cells to be exact and a cocker spaniel to boot. If we end up barking mad and I have not read the detail, I might just be another man’s best friend. I have been immunised.

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