Meet the Soton students who have received the Covid-19 vaccine
‘All through this pandemic, we’ve been trusting the science and now is not the time to stop’
The UK was the first country in the world to approve a Covid-19 vaccine in December 2020 and there are now three vaccines which have been approved for use in the UK. Last week, the number of Covid vaccines administered passed 10 million and the government has also announced plans to vaccinate all those over 50 in England and Wales by May. This has given hope to a return to normal life sooner than thought.
Whilst many of these jabs have been given to the elderly and most vulnerable, some students have also received the vaccine. These include students working on the frontline during the pandemic and also those who were able to receive the vaccine due to missed appointments and excess stock.
The Soton Tab spoke to students in Southampton who had received the vaccine:
Rebecca, Child and Mental Health Nursing
Rebecca is currently on a mental health placement and managed to get her Covid-19 vaccine through her placement provider. Whilst her placement was not specifically for those with coronavirus she said: “We have had Covid positive patients, like most places.”
The process of getting the vaccine was well organised and Rebecca said: “I signed up online to book my appointment. Then when I arrived I had to sign a consent form.
“I went into a room and spoke to someone about my form and check I was okay to have it. Then went into a second room where I had a vaccine, then I went into a third room where you have to wait for 15 minutes to check you’re feeling okay
“Overall I would say it took about 30 minutes. It felt so safe, all the staff and volunteers were lovely.”
Rebecca said she had slight side effects such as feeling nauseous for a day.
About those who might refuse the vaccine, she said: “I would say, science has proven this works. All through this pandemic, we’ve been trusting the science and now is not the time to stop.
“Everyone is fed up of lockdowns, and rightly so, but the more people who are against this vaccine, the longer this will continue.
“We owe it to the NHS front line staff to try and stop the spread of this virus, and we have the ability to do it, so we should.”
Charlotte, History and Politics
Charlotte told the Soton Tab: “I work at a hospital part time (I’m not a medic, I just do reception work) and they had spare vaccines that were going to expire”.
She said once the vaccine has been removed from storage, there is a time limit in which they have to be used before they expire, so if patients don’t show up to their vaccine appointment the vaccines will get thrown out.
Charlotte said she understood why people would be apprehensive about the vaccine, and that a few people she worked with were unsure themselves, but she said: “After they spoke to the doctors they changed their mind.
“I think if you’re unsure it is important to do your own research into it and understand how it got approved so quickly and talk to a medical professional if you’re unsure”.
Limni received the vaccine through the pharmacy she works in. Like Rebecca and Hattie, Limni said that process on the day of getting her vaccine was quick and simple.
“Then afterwards everyone had to wait for 15 minutes to assess symptoms”, she told the Soton Tab.
Maisy is a second year medical student who is currently on placement and was eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
“The actual administration of the vaccine was so fast and it was over before you knew it,” Maisy told the Soton Tab, “They then make you sit outside the hospital lecture theatres for 15 minutes just to make sure you are okay”.
She also said didn’t have any side effects and “was able to get up the next morning and go on placement as normal”.
Maisy said: “A simple task that takes 30 minutes maximum out of your day is not only protecting yourself but protecting all the people around you.
“Being vaccinated is something we’ve all had done in our lives and it’s never inconvenienced us before, and it will not this time either”.
Hattie, Cardiac Physiology
Hattie is another student who was able to get the vaccine early as she is on her final year placement which lasts six months. She was also offered the vaccine by the trust she is working with.
Hattie told the Soton Tab: “We have to perform tests on Covid inpatients that have come in for other procedures”, these patients have come in for their heart conditions and “have then ended up catching Covid while in the hospital”.
“So many of the wards have been converted into Covid wards”, Hattie said.
She was able to get the first dose of the vaccine the same week she started placement. When she went to go get the vaccine the team were efficient.
Hattie said: “The actual injection was the least painful one that I’ve ever had, I didn’t realise that she had even done it!”
Laura, MSc Physiotherapy
Laura is a physiotherapy student and also works as a therapy assistant at a hospital, she was able to receive the vaccine through her placement.
Unlike some of the others, Laura did have a few side effects: “I had a temperature, painful arm, swollen glands and headache.
“I stayed at home for a day and was fine by the next morning. Unpleasant, but so much better than getting Covid I imagine!”
Laura said that whilst there are a few genuine medical reasons why people may be advised to not have the Covid vaccine, people who are offered the vaccine should take it as “it’s not just about your own protection – it’s for the rest of the community and the rest of the world ultimately.”
She said the vaccines “have been through rigorous testing procedures and are truly safe!”
About those people who may refuse the vaccine, she said: “The selfish act of some people will ultimately have a vast impact on the rest of us- and particularly for those who are genuinely unable to have the vaccine, who have no choice.
James*, like Limni, is another student who was able to get the vaccine due to excess vaccines remaining at the end of the day.
Like Laura, he had mild side effects from the vaccine, but these soon cleared up: “I felt really nauseous and ill for like 24 hours, and the arm they injected was too tender and sore to even sleep on for a couple of nights.
“After two to three days I was totally fine.”
For more information about the Covid-19 vaccines visit the NHS website here.