As some of you know, I’ve been working as a volunteer vaccinator for nearly a year now. Month-in, month-out, I’ve been part of that massive army of volunteers putting jabs in arms; perhaps I’ve even given you your vaccine if you’ve been lucky enough to visit the vaccine centres at Westwood Cross in Thanet or the centres in Canterbury?
We all know that the way that Covid-19 finally turns from pandemic to endemic is enough people getting antibodies – either by vaccine, or by naturally-gained immunity from previous infection. Ideally, anyone who has had Covid should also get all their vaccines too. Certainly, I’ve had both the virus and all my jabs – they may well offer different and combined protections from antibodies and T-cells. So if you’ve had Covid, getting jabbed and boosted on top, gives you the best hand in terms of long-term protection.
I also cannot stress enough how important getting that booster is. Kent does have an older population than many areas of the UK; for various reasons including the massive health inequalities and pocked of huge deprivation in this county we were hit so hard by the Alpha strain of Covid which was first identified in this county, likely around Margate. All our county’s sacrifice and hardship over the past two years is honoured by every single booster jab we give here. Two vaccines is not enough – all research is showing that the ‘full course’ of the Covid-19 vaccine is at least 3 jabs, and 4 for those who are immune-suppressed and perhaps later this year for older people. If you have only had two jabs, you have not completed your full course.
Think about it like this. Babies get 3 Meningitis-B jabs between the ages of 8-weeks and 1 year. I didn’t take my babies for only 2 jabs for Meningitis and then think “oh, they are protected against Meningitis enough now, I won’t let them have the 3rd one”. That would be silly. The experts said that it was a 3-course vaccine, so my children had the full recommended 3 jabs. People should assume the same with Covid, you are not protected enough until you have had at least 3 doses of the vaccine.
It is true of course that some people feel a bit rough after getting the vaccine. Some data has emerged suggesting that women, younger people and those who have previously had Covid have a stronger reaction to the vaccine. This is still normal. Certainly, after my first vaccine I felt like I had a hangover, after my second I was fine and after my booster, I had the strangest foot cramp that had me jumping out of bed in pain in the middle of the night. Still, I’m delighted I’ve had all my shots. Side effects or no side effects, unless you are allergic to the vaccine, or your doctor has recommended not getting vaccinated because of a clash with your current medication, there is absolutely no reason to delay.
Also, don’t worry if you are thinking of coming in for your first or second vaccine and are worried that it is too late. It absolutely ISN’T. Vaccinators won’t judge you. We give first and second jabs every single day…loads of them. I’m thrilled when I get someone coming in for their first vaccine: that person has woken up that day and made an amazing choice.
That’s it for now. It has been a busy year. I haven’t been shouting politics from the rooftops much because I’ve been getting busy on the ground, in my community: jabbing arms, donating & refurbishing laptops to those who need them, getting statues of amazing women up where they belong… that sort of thing.
So, if I haven’t seen you in a while and you need your booster, swing by the Canterbury Sea Scouts soon. I promise you,
Ratchet Cornell will be delighted to see you.