AstraZeneca Covid vaccine: I've had my jag and the total number of side-effects was zero – Susan Morrison

AstraZeneca. Sounds like an under-powered family saloon from 80s’ British Leyland, probably available in Vibrant Lime, Florida Orange or Chocolate Brown.

It’s my vaccine flavour. I know, because my nurse actually said, “It's AstraZeneca , is that all right?” like a concerned sommelier flourishing an expensive bottle of Chateau de Plonque.

Perhaps I should have sent it back and demanded a Pfizer instead. Who am I kidding? It’s the NHS. You get a choice of biscuit. Drugs, you take what you’re given.

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Phase one of Operation Covid Smackdown is complete. I can now discuss side-effects in detail. Over the last few years, I’ve had loads of jaggy needles, so I can talk about side-effects with authority.

Yes, I know this is like someone who once read "I Am John’s Liver” in the Reader's Digest telling a highly trained consultant how to do an upcoming surgery. That someone would be me.

When my delightful oncologist detailed the side-effects of my chemotherapy, it took nearly 20 minutes before she’d even cleared the foothills. Tingling, twitching, skin peeling, you name it.

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The only thing she missed was my sudden predilection for what one nurse on the chemo ward called “salty language”. Which is odd. My language is usually as mild as that of a Sunday School teacher, if that teacher was Gordon Ramsey.So. Let's talk in depth about those vaccine side-effects.

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A dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid vaccine is given to 82-year-old James Shaw, the first person in Scotland to receive the vaccination, at the Lochee Health Centre in Dundee (Picture: Andy Buchanan/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Well. That’s the end of that conversation.

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Nothing. Not that day, nor the next. There was a mildly dizzy spell when Alex Salmond unexpectedly appeared on my telly looking like something from a Hammer Horror circa 1968, but I think that’s about par for the course. What has he done to his eyebrows?

My eyesight got a bit blurry. I cleaned my glasses. Sorted.

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Not all have been so lucky. Some people have been walloped. The Yorkshire husband went wobbly for a day. We had to increase his intake of tea and he expected me to be sympathetic. Tea, I can do. Sympathy, bit more of a stretch.

Can’t help but notice that most of the other cases are younger people. Their immune systems are probably way better than mine and fire up faster. My immune system probably resembles the shields on the USS Enterprise, a tad tattered after a barney with a Klingon Bird-of-Prey.

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Sorry about the Trekkie reference. The BoyChild and I have been lockdown binge-watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. Shocking lack of Scots in engineering. No wonder that starship’s a mess.

Of course people are worried. These vaccines seem to have come out of nowhere. Are they safe? Yes, they are. They didn’t just appear when someone said, oh, hang on, what if we mix up some of this, a pinch of that and let's blend it with bleach, like that Florida Orange bloke in America suggested.

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Teams of research scientists literally worked around the clock, globally sharing vast amounts of information fuelled by the sort of money we usually spend on wars to create this vaccine. They know vaccines. They know immune systems. Studied them for years.

The sheer scale of their achievement is mind-boggling. Trust them, they know what they’re doing. Certainly more than some twonk who read “I am John’s Immune System” in the Reader’s Digest in a dentist's waiting room years ago.

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