When he brought my card back he said I would soon be able to use it to book our vaccinations, but not yet. I’d been keeping an eye on progress, I knew the over 80s were being treated, then 65 to I think 63 could register with a local doctor, we are both 72. I went online and found on the health board site that we could have made a booking a week earlier and proceeded to enter my details. I got a reservation for few days time, Thursday morning at the hospital where we went for our health cards and in fact a town where the AstraZeneca vaccine is processed. The factory was raided at the weekend by a special section of the carabiniere as it was thought millions of vaccines were being concealed to be sent to the U.K. and we know the EU is not happy about that. It transpired the batch was destined for the EU and low and middle income countries under the COVAX scheme.
I was able to book Mr FF in 10 minutes after me, it was a strange system as there was only one appointment each day in any location, when I took the earliest there was nothing more available that day but I tried later and the next appointment had appeared. Strange but true.
So Thursday morning we pitched up and reported to the vaccination reception which was staffed by two men simply handing out forms, not interested at all in our booking details. We had pages of options for medical complaints etc to complete then waited to be called. And waited and waited standing in a corridor with people walking by outside the treatment rooms, my appointment was about 50 minutes late, MrFF’s an hour and 10 minutes.
I was called through, a girl asked for my ID card, that’s the ID card we applied for on 18 January and are still waiting for as I told her. I offered my health card, she said no, ID card. I pulled out my U.K. driving licence. That was fine, she asked where the tax code was on it, again I tried to pull out my health card, which does show my tax code, see paragraph re ordering fuel. Again she said no, flipped the licence over said here it is and wrote down some numbers. I’ve had a look on the back later, I could find only dates and the number of the licence.
She checked the answers to medical conditions, asked me to sign three pages then said what drugs do you take. None I said, that’s why I wrote none, none at all she asked, none, she looked puzzled. A young man came out of the next room, he spoke English, he told me he’d worked in a hospital in Wales for 6 months. He asked me what drugs I took, same reply. We then chatted for a while about the U.K., where we live in Italy, he was very sweet. Another wait before I was called into the next room where an older man behind a desk asked me to sit down. The young man told him I could speak Italian and was from the north of England. Not Scotland he asked, I told him I’d lived in Scotland 25 years and worked in Edinburgh, he knew Edinburgh well and his Italian friend has an excellent restaurant there, one I know it’s quite famous. The other man in the room, who was the one who did the injection then told me he’d been to Scotland a few years ago on a 3 week touring holiday and loved the food but not the weather. The man behind the desk thumbed through my form and asked me what drugs I took, by this stage I wondered if I should say wine. When I said none he asked me what illnesses I had, wasn’t that the point of the lengthy questionnaire. The nice young man said I didn’t have any so my vaccination was approved and I moved to a different chair. I felt nothing, I was sent back to the reception area where I was given a certificate and told to sit for a while.
MrFF expected to be called in next, the man who went in before me said he’d an 11.00 appointment mine was 11.10, MrFF was 11.20, but three other people were called and by this time it was almost 12.30. We began to wonder if because there were 2 appointments together with the same surname they’d got confused but when we asked they said just wait. Eventually MrFF finally went in and after a while the nice young man came and called me in. I thought MrFF must have taken a turn for the worse, rushed in and asked him if he was OK. He looked surprised to see me and said he was fine, still waiting for his jab. We had more discussions about Scotland, its restaurants and then the restaurants in our village. I think the girl in the other room, the ID checker, was getting a bit agitated by all this chat because she came in and told MrFF to take off his jacket and roll up his sleeve. That got things moving, he didn’t feel a thing either, we thanked everyone for being so kind and helpful, they said they were pleased to meet us.
The whole process from form completion to 15 minutes recovery took 2 hours. We calculated that they must be only treating 60 people a day, 6 members of staff in contact with each patient but only one actually giving the injections. When I see on the news large vaccination centres in the U.K., I read ilkley had reached 600 per day at the health centre, and the number of U.K. adults already treated I despair. The hospital staff were doing a great job but and taking wonderful care of everyone, we couldn’t have been treated better but I can’t help thinking if they set up in a large space elsewhere, eg a sports hall, and were streamlined things might move a bit quicker and we’d all be safer. However we are both grateful to have our vaccines, Marios wife isn’t getting hers for another month and she is 77, and grateful to have our health cards. I was rather tempted to go and show my card and vac certificate to the man who was so horrible to us when we applied last year, but I am better than that, unless I change my mind when we go back for dose 2 in June.