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I got the Covid vaccine in NZ – here’s what it was like

, Author

By
Lillian McHugh

|


April 15, 2021

As news of the vaccine coming to our shores became a reality, I increasingly became aware of what getting the vaccine meant.

We had many conversations at work in editorial meetings and in the office kitchen. Would the vaccine impact future fertility, which vaccine would we get and how likely was it we would get a blood clot? As I spoke to colleagues, family members and medical professionals I became more and more comfortable with the options available to me. Any concern waned and I made my decision I would get the vaccine.

I certainly didn’t expect to get it so quickly.

New Zealand is currently vaccinating the border workers. As my partner works in Queenstown airport, the airport community was offered access to the vaccine in March.

The process

I received a straightforward survey to complete, that asked for my name and association to the airport and date I would be available to receive the vaccine. The clinic was opened after normal business hours, and I requested an appointment after 5:30pm.

24 hours prior to my proposed date, I received a text confirming my vaccine for the following evening for 5:45pm. I was asked to bring photo ID.

I arrived at the clinic at my allocated time and lined up, there would have been at least 14 people in the first que in front of me at that stage. There was no social distancing.

We were given forms to fill out. Mine was a household contact form, asking for my name, date of birth, NHI number and my GP’s name. It also asked if I was happy for the DHB to share my vaccine details with my employer. There were no further details about my employer requested. When asked how they connect my name and DOB with my employer the manager wasn’t sure and didn’t have any more information.

Once we filled out the forms, we then lined up again to get our details checked. As I didn’t have my NHI number with me, they were able to fill that part in. They never asked to see my ID. I was given a vaccine card that had the type of vaccine and the date received on it and then told to sit down.

There would have been 9 of us in the waiting area at the time. I waited no more than five minutes before I was called for by a nurse.

Once in the medical suite, I was asked by the nurse in the room for my form and vaccine card. She checked the details again, full name and date of birth, and asked which hand I write with.

She asked a serious of questions such as:

  • Have you had a vaccine in the last month
  • Are you pregnant or breast feeding
  • Do you have a blood disorder
  • Have you had a reaction to a vaccine

As I am right-handed, she jabbed the vaccine into my left arm and I was done. There was an initial pinch. But no pain. It was all done.

She told me I would get a text in three weeks to book the second vaccine, and if I didn’t, just to come to the medical centre. I was told to head through to the waiting area.

Afterwards

At the waiting area, I was met by two people checking off the vaccine cards and taking our time of arrival for the 20-minute wait. They told me not to have another vaccine for three weeks.

My arm started to tingle in the waiting area, just where the vaccine had been administered. But again, no pain. When my boyfirend came out from his, he told me he had laid down on the medical bed and had a lolly while he had his. He obviously got the rockstar treatment.

After 20 minutes, my name was called. The attendant asked was I ‘feeling good?’ and after a simple ‘yes’ the man replied  ‘goodnight’ and off I went.

I was fine for the rest of the night. Restless trying to get to sleep, but I don’t think I can put that down to the vaccine. I woke with a sore arm, we both mentioned it over breakfast. Only really when we raised our arms above shoulder height. It’s a numb ache, a dull pain.

I’m happy I’ve had the vaccine. There’s definitely a comradery in town amongst those who have had it and those about to have it. I hear the second vaccine is more painful, but this process was so smooth, I have no concerns moving into the next phase.

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