We were a few minutes early arriving at the ‘Health Centre to find six other ‘locals’ already having parked their cars up and waiting in line for the ‘Jab’. Interestingly, there were a variety of ages represented but for some reason, I was the only male I noticed.

There we stood in the freezing cold, nervously waiting for the automatic doors to open, “I’m 9.30” said the lady, sorry woman or should that be the person at the head of the line, we smiled in agreement that we were all indeed registered for 9.30. As we peered at the still-closed door.

The door did indeed slide open at 9.30 plus ten seconds and we were met by a person dressed in full protective gear, face mask, and face shield and clutching a ‘scanner’.

One at a time please and only six allowed in at any time, right. Temperature scan, most odd having something aimed at your head, but needs must. Name, have you or your family or support bubble had any symptoms? Good and you are a 9.30 appointment. Yes, then walk down the corridor, last room on right my colleague will see you there. Ah well, too late to back out now.

The conversation went something like this: Morning, I said with a smile, a waste of time really as I was wearing my own triple barrier mask and face-covering shield.

Sit down and take your jacket off and roll up your sleeve said this fully masked up blue-clad person. Ah, I try a bit of humour I thought, so quick as a flash, which one I said. The one with an arm in it came the reply. Now shut up and give me a minute because I’m new to this computer program.

Now, name, age, date of birth, do you have any allergies, what medication do you take? Well, yes to allergies, penicillin, and being injected. No problem with penicillin she said, the injection won’t hurt. It’s not being hurt that bothers me, I said.I take it Doctor you have had ‘it‘ have you? Yes, she said and the same one as you, satisfied, are you happy now? WelI, can’t say I’m happy Doc, but I’m here, so let’s do it. Already have, she said, you can go now, take your card, and here’s a list of side effects. Get back if you have any problems, mind you we’re closed from lunchtime today, but we reopen first thing Monday morning, so hang on until then or call that number.

At that I stumbled out into the corridor, another ‘jab’ type colleague was there doing marshaling duties. Excuse me I said, where do I sit for my 15 minutes rest and recuperation. Not in here she said, you will be wanting a cup of tea and a biscuit next, go and sit in your car come back in if there are any problems, good job I didn’t come on the bus I thought. And off I went, passing the next group of people nervously waiting outside in the cold, I say nervously the white faces may have been due to the freezing east wind and in any case, one elderly soul was queuing with her dog, which struck me as quite odd, but there you are. Anyway, four of the original six all smiles now, we’re leaving at the same time and we troupe across the car park to vehicles not before promising to have a reunion before the next dose.

Well, that was it actually, and in case dear reader you thought I was exaggerating my experience, the ‘staff’ at the centre were all very pleasant, professional and caring, full marks for that, but then this is a very ‘local health centre’.

A couple of friends both in their seventies have had a very different experience, one who has been shielding for well over a year, was pleased that the shielded partner had the vaccination done at home, but my friend, has to go to the nearest centre at a later date, which must make sense to somebody, as does the fact that two people I know, both with underlying long term health issues, are after two weeks,  waiting for their G.P to contact them as both have been told that they must check with their G.P before having the ‘Jab’, just in case you may have thought that this was a one-off,  they live in different parts of the West Midlands and are patients of different ‘ health centres’  and to add to their confusion, telephone calls to their respective ‘surgeries’ mean leaving an answerphone message which has in both cases gone unanswered and both people know of friends much younger who have already received not only an invitation gratefully accepted but the ‘jab’ as well.

As for after my experience seems to be the same as most for the ‘jab’ that I had, headache, mild temperature increase the next day, followed by the shivers, and feeling tired and slightly queasy as we used to say for a couple of days. A couple that I know of both had a sore arm a couple of days later;  so all in all in line with expectations.

Talking of expectations, which presumably as part of some expert marketing advice being given to ministers seems either to be a total confusing not to mention a shambolic master plan, to either frighten the life out of much of the population which let’s face it seems still to be working, or so confuse the masses that the attack on our culture,  institutions, and economy will be alright by some undisclosed date or maybe alright, or could be alright, so long as we the taxpayer are quite happy to pay increased taxation to keep the chosen public sector in full employment and worrying about such important things as the summer holidays and green issues, while the rest of us wonder just how bad the financial and social ‘hit’ is going to be.  It looks like the new normal which we kept hearing about last year, is well on the way to fruition.

Editor’s Note: This is Part One of a two-part series. The second part will be published here on INdependence Daily tomorrow.

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