‘I received a text message inviting me to have my vaccination. I clicked on the link in the message and, after entering my date of birth, was offered two options of where I could have the vaccine. I selected a time and was booked in for two days later. I received a text immediately afterwards confirming my booking and a reminder on the day.
Having not been amongst people for such a long time, I felt a little worried about the large number of people there. They were vaccinating 320 people that morning. After socially distanced queuing outside for about 4 minutes, I was invited to sanitise my hands and I had my temperature taken. I was then allowed to enter the building where I moved along the spots on the floor and answered some questions relating to COVID-19, whether I am on any drugs and if I am on a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial.
I was then given a label to take through and after about 10 minutes I was invited into a cubicle where the questions were asked again. Then I rolled up my sleeve and received my first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. The needle was so fine and it was so quick that I didn’t feel a thing. I was given a little card that tells me which vaccine I was given and the batch number, which I need to have when I am called for the next vaccine. I was given a leaflet about the vaccine which includes information about possible side effects.
I was then given a timer, set to 15 minutes, steered to a sanitised seat and asked to wait. My timer duly beeped and I came home to enjoy a coffee and biscuits. Despite being worried about being amongst so many people, it all felt really safe.
My arm was painful for 2 days and I felt extremely tired for the rest of the day after the jab. I also felt like I was getting a cold for 2 days. But it's all better now and it feels great to have had it and seems to me like the first step towards feeling a bit safer.’
Debbie, who was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in 2011
Possible side effects of the vaccines
The main side effects of the vaccines are pain and redness where the injection goes in and mild flu-like symptoms. These typically last a day or so. Some people develop swollen lymph nodes, which generally go down within around 2 weeks. Now that the vaccines are being offered to millions of people, they are being monitored through the 'yellow card' scheme to make sure there are no unexpected issues. Anyone who thinks they've experienced a side effect after having the vaccine can report it at coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk
28 January 2021