Getting my coronavirus vaccination: Hamish's story

Hamish, 78, lives in Inverness in Scotland and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2016. He recently received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccination and shares his experience here.

When my GP surgery called to invite me for my vaccination, I had no doubts at all about booking an appointment. 

I have been self-isolating since last March when the pandemic first began. I’ve taken short walks near home, but have been no further than that.

It’s hard not being able to do things you want to or enjoy, but the vaccination takes that pressure off a little bit. I know there is a lot of conflicting information out there, but I’ve always believed in science and to me, it’s no different from having the flu jab.

...the mood was very buoyant with lots of smiles all round, despite the cold wind!   

Off we went

On the day of the appointment itself, it had been -5C overnight and there was an inch of snow on the ground, lying on top of ice. The letter I received confirming my appointment had advised me to dress warmly and be prepared to queue outside. So my partner and I ‘muffled’ up - I wore a hat, scarf, gloves, two t-shirts, my warmest jacket and of course, a mask - and off we went.  

When we arrived at the surgery, there was a queue as we’d been warned, but everyone was wearing masks. My cohort that day was other over-75s and the mood was very buoyant with lots of smiles all round, despite the cold wind!   

Marshalls and community volunteers acted as guides directing us around the building and firmly keeping everyone 2 metres apart at all times. They were also incredibly helpful and courteous with us - I was even offered a chair at one point, but marching on the spot was keeping me warm so I politely declined.  

Once I was inside, all the entrance doors, fire doors and quite a number of windows were open for ventilation. I followed a trail of snowy footprints through the various reception areas into a room to take off my coat and then into another room for the vaccination itself. 
 

A job well done

I had the Pfizer/BioNTech jab. It was administered by my regular GP and I was delighted to see him face-to-face. It was all over very quickly - there was just enough time for him to compliment me on my old snowboarding jacket and for me to hand over packets of chocolate biscuits as a thank you for the hard working staff!

Afterwards, I had to stay in reception for 15 minutes in case of any immediate adverse reaction to the vaccine. I was absolutely fine, so my recuperation time was mostly spent getting my gloves back on again and zipping up my jacket. Then I was back off home for a hot lunch, and an afternoon snooze under the blanket with my cat. 

From start to finish, it was a job very well done and since having the jab, I’ve had no side effects - other than relief. 

 

If you've had the vaccine:

Continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask, and wash your hands frequently. The vaccine reduces your risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus, but it isn’t 100% effective and it may still be possible for you to pass on the virus to others. It’s important to continue following government guidance and restrictions for your area.

If you've had the coronavirus vaccine and are experiencing side effects, please report it on the government's Yellow Card website.

Understanding coronavirus and Parkinson's

Our priority is supporting people living with Parkinson's. That's why we’ve gathered the facts and guidance to help answer some of your most common questions about coronavirus and Parkinson's.