Arriving the C.M.S Primary Health Centre, Bariga, Lagos around 9:30am last week Friday, the atmosphere was calm, orderly and serene.
“Only health workers, security agencies, the press, strategic leaders and other frontline workers are eligible to take part in the first phase of the ongoing vaccine rollout,” announced the courteous healthcare matron.
At the point of entry, I had to identify myself upon questioning by the security guard. After prompt introduction, I walked in, and took a seat confidently knowing fully well I was qualified.
The seats were arranged strategically at the healthcare centre for people to sit calmly and wait for their turn. The vaccination site was an open-air space. Elderly persons — 70+ and above — retired health workers, some others adorning their nose masks, were seated taking turns to go through the registration and capturing process.
While I picked a seat, I developed a sudden feeling of fear, I guess it was just a vaccine fright because I was about to get the first dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine which has generated series of controversies in some countries over its safety and efficacy in the past few weeks.
But my fears got doused when I saw elderly persons ahead of me getting vaccinated, and feeling rejuvenated afterwards at the centre. Also, my conversation with some persons at the site, especially about those who’ve been vaccinated, rekindled calmness, I mustered to myself that there is the need for a deal of more work that must be done to rebuild trust in the vaccine.
The first port of call was to get registered in the vaccine registration booklet with resemblance of NYSC book of life. Answering a couple of questions, all necessary details were rightly documented in the manual registration process before proceeding for the e-capturing process. Prior to this, I had initially registered through a portal created for self-registration but it appears to be invalid upon getting to the site.
After the capturing process which involves responding to questions such as personal details, photo capturing and scanning of the vaccine card issued by the health worker, the next port of call was to receive the vaccine. While the process was a seamless exercise that can be concluded in a jiffy, there were hitches at some point. The e-capturing tool experienced server problems.
After about six hours of waiting, in-between, security agencies were prioritised for quick attention — the person administering it asked if I had any relevant or known allergies before taking the vaccine. At about 2:15pm, I received the vaccine.
I was with the nurse for under 2 minutes, the nurse checked my vaccine card, swabbed my left arm, told me that afterward I needed to wait 10 minutes before leaving the arena, asked if I had any other questions, and gave me the injection.
Once you get the shot, you’ll be given a card that has the date you received the first shot, the scheduled date for the second shot, and the type of vaccine that you received — Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on it.
Once 10 minutes passed, she asked how I was feeling, and I told her I was great, so she said I was free to go.
Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine was a tremendous sense of relief especially amid the different speculations. I maintained calmness and tried to study my body’s response to the jab throughout the rest of the day.
I felt fine for the rest of the afternoon while I carried out my other activities of the day. Later in the evening, I felt this sudden dizziness. Advisedly, one is expected to take paracetamol to douse any form of pain.
I also had a light feeling of discomfort including headache, and pains from the arm where the shot was received; afterwards I was relieved of the headache when I woke up Saturday morning but the pain from the injection made my left arm feel heavy. I did not experience any adverse reaction(s).
Getting vaccinated is the only reasonable measure of defense against this raging virus that upended nearly every facet of our lives — and that of the rest of the world
However, while I noticed there was a deficiency in terms of ‘counseling’ those to be vaccinated before the process, I strongly think there should also be provision for those who are hearing-impaired at the centres.
At this point, there is a need to tell more COVID-19 vaccination stories as it could be a more powerful way of convincing some people to take the vaccine than just stating the facts.
I look forward to getting my second shot in June!
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The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Please consult your treating physician for more details.