Bill Harvey: There’s a hole in my arm
Author: Bill Harvey
I will never forget the look of disapproval from the duty nurse many years ago when, having presented in A&E with a broken finger, I repeated the old joke ‘Will I be able to play the piano when it gets better? Yes. Good, because I couldn’t before.’ With this in mind, when going for my first vaccine jab last week, I resisted the classic ‘will I feel a small prick?’ routine.
All of us still seeing NHS patients should be getting our jabs as soon as possible. If you haven’t already been sent a text or form, chase up with your local health team. If you see private patients only, or are a locum, you may want to look at the help offered on the LOCSU website for registering.
Just as we can assuage patient fears of vaccination and debunk fake news, we also should be able to support the process with good information. For example, emphasising that care should still be exercised post-injection; peak immunity takes weeks after the jab, and viral transfer is still possible.
Where there is concern about insisting that all practice staff be vaccinated, we should remember that minimising a real and present danger to the greater public should always trump personal opinion. We have precedent here, for example when advising a poorly sighted driver to cease, no matter how experienced or confident they claim to be. ‘It’s not just for you.’
That said, the current promotion of ‘vaccine passports’ by many commentators should, I believe, be resisted. When I take mother to the Millennium Centre this weekend for the jab, I will be armed with my vaccine card just in case. However, freedoms based on a formal ID puts too much power in the hands of the jobsworth, something I have always resisted. Security guard at Bath Street Clinic in the noughties – you know who you are.