by Colin Campbell
A MILESTONE for me along this tortuous path – yesterday I met the first person I know who’s been vaccinated.
A care worker at an Inverness nursing home, she received the jab last Friday. Within three weeks, the time it takes to become fully effective, she’ll be protected from the worst ravages on the body this cursed virus can bring.
Nicola Sturgeon has said the aim is to deliver the first dose of the vaccine to everyone over 50 who wants it by the end of April.
But for now, only a relatively small and select few are in this fortunate position, and care staff, along with residents, are foremost among them.
After the incredibly difficult and stressful time they’ve had, not least in dealing with the anguish of relatives of residents unable to get into homes to see family members, they fully deserve their special status.
It’s hard not to feel just a trace of envy.
Six nurses were assigned to carry out the vaccination of around 140 residents and staff at this particular nursing home.
As described to me, the potentially lifesaving magnitude of the task undertaken seemed medically mundane.
The nurses set up a clinical room with the vaccine and the necessary equipment. Two remained there and the other four did the needle work.
Residents were escorted from their rooms by staff in prearranged order and the injection process took around five minutes for each person.
Staff were asked questions about allergies and pregnancy and if they agreed to receive the vaccine. I’d imagine “yes please” would have been a fairly appropriate response.
The process took around five hours in total.
Two minor points registered with the person I spoke to.
The small vial containing the liquid, maybe an inch in length, was only half full. So you do not, in the famous words of Tony Hancock, quite get an armful.
A very small quantity is all that’s required to free you of what is the plague fear for many and the plague terror for some.
And the liquid itself, so I was told, is, not thin and runny but quite thick and viscous. Minor points, yes, but given the enormity of what is being achieved, I listened attentively to every detail.
The after-effects were minimal. Sore arms for some, headaches, a touch of nausea the following day, but that all disappeared very quickly.
A second shot is due to be delivered in 12 weeks time.
So that was another 140 or so people joining those who’ve already moved across the divide between those who’ve been vaccinated and the millions of us who are still waiting our turn, with varying degrees of eagerness.
I asked the care worker how she felt now she’s made that vital crossing.
“It was all pretty straightforward and simple,” she said. “I haven’t thought about it that much, but if I do think about, yes, there’s no doubt it’s a relief to have got it done.”
Being young, she wasn’t exactly elated by it all. For many of us of considerably older vintage, I suspect when our time comes it’ll be a different story.