What it’s like getting the covid-19 AstraZeneca vaccine


True, my only option is the AstraZeneca shot, which meant facing up to its potentially lethal side effect of blood clotting.

But the risk of that really is vanishingly small. And when I stacked it up against the considerably higher risks of a) contracting COVID at some stage, and b) getting very, very sick with it and possibly croaking, it seemed my best option was to roll up my sleeve.

Events in Victoria are making things clearer still. I didn’t want to be one of those mugs who, a month from now, stands for hours in a vaccine queue amid an outbreak.

So, last week I walked into my local medical centre and told the receptionist I’d like to book in for the first of my two A-Z vaccine shots, please.

“Yes, sir,” she said. “We’re administering vaccines on Wednesdays and Fridays. Which would you prefer?”

I could have got the needle two days later. But I decided to make the appointment for this week. You know . . . a bit of adjustment time.

That night I told my wife what I’d done.

“Good,” she said. “I’ll see what happens to you, and then decide for myself.”

Yesterday, the medical centre sent me an online form to submit before my appointment. It was just the usual stuff about allergies and pre-existing conditions.

When I walked in at 10.55 this morning, the place was standing room only. I expected to be kept waiting, but I wasn’t. Inside, the young female GP asked how I was feeling, whether I had any allergies and if I was on any medication.

“Do you have any questions?” she asked.

“Yes, in the unlikely event that I get a blood clot from this, what does it feel like?” 

She said if I develop severe abdominal pain, a crushing headache or shortness of breath to seek medical help. More likely, she said, I’d develop minor flu-like symptoms that might last two or three days, or no symptoms at all.

Then, up went my sleeve, in went the needle (I barely felt a thing) – and that was it. She told me to hang around in the waiting room for 15 minutes, and to book in for my second shot, roughly three months hence, on my way out.

Five hours later, I feel fine. I’ll let you know if anything changes.

Update: Things changed. That night in bed I felt something coming on. By the morning I had a headache, aches and pains, a strange feeling of unwellness and a very sore left arm at the injection site. I wasn’t quite a write-off – I could still manage to work from home, just – but exercise was unthinkable

. It’s an odd thing, submitting to a state-funded injection that makes you crook. I wondered whether I’d done the right thing. The next morning, I woke up well again, just the sore arm lingered. Walking around now half-vaccinated, half-impregnable, is a pretty good feeling. It’s your call.


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