Grace Stewart Hanson, named Nurse Safeguarding Adults at Leeds Community Healthcare Trust, gives some insight into her thoughts, feelings and experiences around receiving the COVID19 vaccine.
2020 was a hard year for many, but for me it meant I had to shield; this meant not leaving my house/garden from March until Mid-August. When I heard a vaccine had been approved for use in the UK I initially felt sceptical, but this was quickly replaced by a feeling of excitement when I read more!
My early concerns were as a result of wanting to know how a vaccine had been created in (what I considered to be) such a short time scale. But I did some research and read that they were able to speed up the process by doing a number of things at the same time rather than complete each stage one after the other, such as the different phases of the clinical trial and reviewing the data as it was being collected rather than once the trials were closed. They were also able to recruit volunteers from all over the world for the clinical trials very quickly.
For both vaccines, trial participants included a range of those from various age groups, ethnic backgrounds, those who are immune-compromised and those with underlying health conditions, and they both found the effectiveness of the vaccine translates through all these groups.
Once I had more information and reflected on the fact that we have a National Health Service that puts the health needs of the population first, I realised that these fears were a result of scaremongering stories as opposed to scientific fact. That aside, I have ensured both of my children were fully vaccinated growing up and I have the flu jab every year without a second thought.
When I received a date to receive my first vaccine I actually felt really emotional as I knew this was the first step for me, others and the country as a whole to regain some normality in the future. Getting the vaccination was easy, the process was very well organised and I was provided with thorough and clear information at each stage. I have since attended my 2nd vaccination and the only side effect I have experienced was an aching arm for 24 hours on both occasions, it was no different to my flu jab!
My advice to others who have any doubts would be to ignore any negative comments and remember that our NHS is committed to improving our lives by providing the best care. Having the vaccination would be helping them do just that.