I was recently added to the new cohort of people needing to shield, due to having diabetes, and as a result, was pushed up the list to get the vaccine and had it successfully yesterday.
The whole process was incredibly efficiently run and without hitch - a big shout out to the NHS and all the volunteers involved in organising everything.
Monday - I received a text from my GP surgery offering me an appointment so I clicked the link, selected the first possible date and booked in. I got a text confirmation back immediately.
Tuesday - I received my shielding letter from the NHS in the post and a text from Hampshire County Council giving me links to advice and information for those newly added to the shielding list.
Wednesday - I had a reminder text from the GP surgery and went to my appointment down at Fareham Community Hospital at 5.30pm. I was guided by marshalls in the car park as to where to park.
At the front door I was given hand gel and had my temperature taken, before being marshalled through a secure, one way system, to complete some paperwork which was done by me reading questions on a large print poster and verbally giving my answers to the staff member.
I then took my paperwork and joined the queue down one side of a hospital corridor. There were marshalls all the way down guiding people and giving them information.
A sign advised when you were nearing the vaccination room and to make your arm accessible. I arrived there quickly and went in, and was advised where to stand while my paperwork was checked by another volunteer.
The doctor then explained the Pfizer vaccine to me and gave me the jab and I got a sticker to say I'd had my vaccine as well as a card to keep to make sure my second jab matches.
I then followed the marshalls to a waiting room where we all had to sit, socially distanced, for ten minutes to make sure there were no allergic reactions.
The lady next to me was telling me that her family were all excited to be getting the vaccines as it felt like a great step forward. She said she hadn't left her house since March 2020 other than to walk her dog, because her husband had had cancer so they didn't want to take the risk.
She'd had two grandchildren born during the past year, neither of which she had met in person yet, but said family zoom calls and quizzes had kept them all in touch during the lockdowns.
It was simple things like going to the shops that she was missing and looking forward to and it was clear that talking to me was probably the first conversation she'd had with someone in a very long time.
It was a real eye opener to how people have been coping and isolating for such a long time, and the hope that the vaccine is now bringing to everyone who has it.
I drove home feeling very privileged to have been able to have the vaccine so quickly and easily. I had a weak numb arm for a few hours and was very tired that evening, but I'm writing this the day after my vaccine and I've had no side effects whatsoever.
The whole process from arriving at the hospital, to getting home again, took no longer than 20 minutes, including 10 minutes sitting in the waiting room. It was all incredibly well organised.