We got our jab: This is how it feels

'I’ve had many many thousands of injections over the years and this was the least painful of the lot'


For frontline worker Gail Shaw, 56, seeing the effects of the pandemic in the past year has felt “devastating”. But she said she now feels safer having received her first jab.

“We still wear full PPE the whole time and everyone that comes in wears masks,” said the Jewish Blind and Disabled house manager.  “But you just get that little bit of a cushion, knowing that you’ve had your first jab.”

Ms Shaw, who was vaccinated at Barnet Hospital Wednesday and is scheduled to receive her second dose in March, urged JC readers to get inoculated. “Do not hesitate. Just have it done and don’t believe what people tell you. It’s scaremongering,” she said, referring to vaccine misinformation circulating online. 

“When you go there, they give you a great handout about what to expect. They’re very patient. They ask if you have any questions. You see a doctor first, then a nurse. Have faith in our NHS,” she said.

Ms Shaw said the pandemic had affected the mental health of tenants. "They can't have any visitors. Not all of them have access to computers. JBD are very good. They do a lot of Zoom things for them to do. We've been in it for a year now and it's been quite devastating really. I think people are just worried when they'll get back to normal."

Getting their first dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine came as a huge relief to Jonathan Braham and his wife Rosalind, who are 75 and 71.

“My wife’s in a wheelchair with MS [multiple sclerosis] and so we haven’t been getting around at all obviously because of the lockdown, but we were both very pleased to get it,” Mr Braham said.

The Bushey Heath couple were among dozens of JBD tenants vaccinated on Monday. Mr Braham said getting the jab was the least painful injection he’d ever received. 

“I’ve had many many thousands of injections over the years and this was the least painful of the lot. The vaccination once a year for the flu jab which wasn’t particularly painful but compared to the covid vaccination, you could feel what was going on. 

“There was no pain at all and furthermore there was no swelling or any sort of irritation on the arm that it was given in.”

Mr Braham said he and his wife are “keen” but “wary” to resume normal activities and will be keeping to their usual regime. “We’re still in Tier 5 so we have to abide by the rules and regulations. The only difference now is that we feel more confident about whatever they do.”

Meanwhile, Sylvia Graham, who is in her 70s, said the vaccination process was “fantastic.” She said: “It was done at Guy’s Hospital and they couldn’t have been nicer, and we had a cup of tea or coffee offered to us after the injection.”

The St John’s Wood resident, who is now fully vaccinated, said she felt some pain in her arm and a headache, but only experienced “vague” effects after the final jab.

“The arm didn’t hurt as much but I just felt a bit spaced out. That was just for a couple of days and I was perfectly okay.” 

She added: "Initially the Jewish community were very badly affected by the pandemic. We need all the protection we can have and get back to normal.”

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