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Hurrah! I have had my COVID-19 vaccination!

Hurrah! I have had my COVID-19 vaccination!
On Thursday, 11 February 11, 2021, shortly after 2:00 pm, I received my first COVID-19 vaccination at the community vaccination centre serving the town where I reside in the UK.
Receiving a vaccination belongs to the realm of one’s own medical confidentiality; usually, I will not be sharing it with the rest of the world. What then has led me to do exactly that? The answer is that I am seeking to allay the fears, mistrust, suspicion, etc. of a section of the world’s population towards the COVID-19 vaccine.
The misgiving, scepticism, doubt, scare and what have you towards the vaccine have been fuelled to a large extent by misinformation, fake news, conspiracy theories, etc. being spread worldwide through various channels, in particular over the internet.
I will return to address the misinformation just referred to later on this article.
For now, I want to briefly narrate my vaccination experience.
My appointment was scheduled for 1:50 pm. I was punctual. As I walked towards the entrance of the building, I was offered a face mask by a middle-aged man at the doorway.
On entering the building, I was directed to the actual vaccination centre, a large open hall with work stations at various points. Social distancing measures were in place, with the chairs well-spaced.
I was offered a seat and then handed a sheet of printed paper – a questionnaire. I was asked to read through the questions; I did not need to fill them out. It was to get me prepared for the meeting with the pre-assessors.
The questions touched on the following:
• whether I have allergies,
• whether I have suffered anaphylactic reactions in the past,
• whether I was displaying any COVID-19 symptoms,
• whether I was taking part in an ongoing COVID-19 clinical trial,
• whether I have already had a COVID-19 vaccination,
• and, finally, whether I was on any anticoagulants (blood thinners).
After waiting for about ten minutes, I was asked to proceed to the pre-assessment point. I was greeted by a gentleman in his early thirties. Based on his uniform, I presumed he was a nurse.
His duty was to pre-assess me, based on the above questions and further discussions to determine whether I was fit to receive the jab that day.
I also needed to answer the question of ethnicity. As far as I am concerned, that aspect of the assessment was the only source of irritation to the occasion. Personally, I consider myself a member of the human race, a citizen of the Global Village. Aware that such an answer would not be satisfactory to him, I told him I am an African, a native of Ghana, and left the decision to him to tick whichever box he felt appropriate.
Next, I was asked to proceed to another work station, about fifteen feet way.
On getting there, I was once again asked the question of allergies, after which the vaccine was quickly injected into my upper left arm.
It was not yet time to walk home, though! No, I was asked to go and wait in an adjacent hall, the observation hall. There were about a dozen others already seated on my arrival.
After waiting for 15 minutes without any immediate untoward reaction, I was free to leave.
As I drove home, I began to feel mild discomfort at the injection site – which is normal for any injection.
Several hours later after the vaccination, I developed a mild fever. Low grade fever after a vaccination is not unusual. It could even be considered desirable, a sign that the body’s defence system has gone to work to tackle the vaccine (intruder). The fever resolved itself after a few hours.
As I am putting finishing touches to this article, almost a week has elapsed since the inoculation. I am feeling very well.
Shortly after returning home from the vaccination centre, I sent a WhatsApp message to my daughter, who lives in Germany, to inform her about the event. Her reply sounded like: “I wish I were in your age group and were offered the opportunity!”
That brings me back to what motivated me to write this article.
Indeed, if everyone resident on this earth were as open to the COVID-19 vaccination as my daughter, I would not feel the need to spend time writing this article.
As I stated earlier, there is unfortunately a great deal of disinformation, fake news and conspiracy theories revolving around the issue of the COVID-19 vaccination. I will touch briefly on some of them:
The other day, I was engaged in a conversation with an acquaintance of mine who believed the lie that Covid-19 vaccines will be used to implant microchips into people so that they can be tracked.
When I asked him how he thought the manufacturers of the vaccine could place the microchips into the millions, if not billions, of vaccine vials so far manufactured, he remained silent.
Another lie I came across is that the some of the COVID-19 vaccines will be able to alter the DNA of those vaccinated and turn them into genetically modified organisms. Without wanting to delve into the details of the matter, I want to assure anyone scared by such a lie that it is simply not true!
Some people are causing fear among people of African descent by spreading the lie that they could be used as guinea pigs to test the vaccines! The vaccines that have been rolled out have already gone through clinical trials. Those who signed up for them, including people of African descent, did so voluntarily.
When I went for my jab, I was the only person of African descent amongst scores of others waiting their turn. Are those spreading such lies implying that when it came to my turn, the team injected me with an experimental version, instead of the licensed version?
I have read that a section of the African-American population in the US is hesitant to accept the vaccines on the grounds that in the past, people from that population group were misused in medical studies.
While not disputing the fact of such past abuses, my advice to such individuals is that they should not allow such historical failings to lead them to reject a vaccine that will protect them from the present danger.
Yes indeed, the danger to health posed by COVID-19 is real. I am a medical doctor. At the beginning of April 2020 I caught COVID-19. Though I was not hospitalised, over several days my body was subjected to quite a severe hammering by the attackers from Coronaland. Since then, I have learnt to respect them. This is no scaremongering; the fact is they play in a completely different league from other previously known respiratory tract viruses such as the influenza virus.
Some people, while not rejecting the principle of vaccination, have reservations concerning the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. Such individuals cite in particular the speed at which the vaccines have been developed. How can they trust the safety of vaccines developed at such a short period of time when in the past it has taken years to develop others?
What do we do when we wake up in the middle of the night to find our homes on fire? We undertake desperate efforts aimed at putting it out.
We were, and are still, witnesses to the massive disruptions which the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to almost every aspect of life globally.
As is to be expected, massive efforts were undertaken by the scientific community to come up with a cure, a vaccine, or both, for the devastating disease. Backed by a massive inflow of resources from governments and other important stakeholders, they worked around the clock in their effort to beat the virus.
That explains the remarkable speed with which the vaccines have been developed.
Despite the urgent need for a cure and/or a vaccine for COVID-19, I trust the regulatory bodies undertook the necessary robust scrutiny to establish their safety and effectiveness before giving the go-ahead for them to be offered to the public. Personally, if I had entertained any doubts in my mind, especially in regard to the safety of the vaccine in use, I would not have gone for it.
I am publishing this article on 18 February 2021. A week has elapsed since I had my COVID-19 vaccination. I am feeling well and in good health, as fit as a fiddle.
Despite having had the jab, I am still observing the general COVID-19 preventive measures – maintaining social distancing, wearing face masks in public places, regularly washing and sanitising my hands, etc. No, I will not become complacent with the rules. On the contrary, I will diligently abide by them, until such time as the public health experts recommend otherwise.
In conclusion, I strongly advise anyone offered the jab to grasp the opportunity. Indeed, as long as individuals do not have a medical condition that renders them unsuitable for the vaccination, then they should wholeheartedly go for it!

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