My Jab!

Denise Barkley receives her Pfizer vaccine jab from Dr Stephen Smith, senior partner at the Windrush medical practice and clinical vaccine lead for Eynsham and Witney Primary Care Network.

It was with barely contained excitement I rolled up my sleeve for Dr Smith to give me my Pfizer jab. Having reached the grand age of 65 last week, I was delighted to be among the patients aged over 65 who received their Covid vaccines in early February, writes Denise Barkley.

I’d just been shown how the Pfizer vaccine is prepared for use. The Windrush’s dispensary manager Sarah Townsend and Eynsham GP Fiona Peach were individually preparing the 600 vaccine doses for that day’s clinic, held from 14:00-19:00. Each vial of vaccine has to be inverted ten times, then it is reconstituted and inverted a further ten times. This has to be done extremely carefully to avoid spoiling any of the precious doses.

Seated in Dr Smith’s consulting room, he ran through my details and asked whether I had any questions. He told me that my arm could be a bit sore and swollen after the jab and one-in-ten people might experience mild side-effects such as a headache, muscle aches and a mild temperature. In the first 48 hours, he explained, it was caused by the body’s immune system kicking in. He added that he hadn’t been informed of anyone so far vaccinated at the Windrush suffering any serious side-effects.

I will be called for my Pfizer booster jab in 12 weeks’ time. The good news is that this initial jab is 90 per cent effective after three weeks, and the booster jab raises this to 95 per cent, stimulating the longer-term immune system and protecting both the recipient and, exponentially, the people around me.

Physicians’ associate Chloe Constance, who is currently helping at the vaccine clinics, kindly agreed to take photos of me having my jab. I can honestly say I never felt a thing, and now, a day later, I only feel a little sore – nothing more.

With 12 vaccinators swiftly carrying out the jabs, the queue moves fairly quickly. Afterwards I joined ‘the snake’ queue in the reception where you wait 15 minutes to ensure you have no immediate adverse reaction, before being allowed to leave. The whole procedure was smooth and reassuring, aided by the wonderful band of friendly and helpful volunteer marshals. I’d like to add my thanks to everyone involved at the Windrush vaccine hub.