• Kirsty Thomson

I got the COVID-19 vaccine; here is why you should too.

Kirsty Thomson writes about her experience receiving the Pfizer vaccine as a key worker in a Care Home.

Not enough hands by Rachel Hutchison (Instagram: @rachelhutchison.art)

Image description: 'Not Enough Hands' was produced during the 2020 period of quarantine, when many countries around the world went into lockdown to tackle the spread of Covid-19. It’s a personal response; particularly with the student nurse I live with in mind, to crisis, uncertainty, and altered states of being.


On the 13th of January, I received my first dosage of the COVID vaccine. Specifically, the Pfizer COVID vaccine. I’m 21, an essential worker in a care home, a student at the University of Edinburgh, and last year in April, I had the virus. There’s a lot of information going around about the vaccines and what the procedure of getting it done entails. I’m here to run you through my entire experience, so that any fears and anxieties you may have had about getting the jab can be washed away.


I’m by no means a scientific expert, so it was important to me to talk about my experience in a way that people would understand, even without a medical or scientific background. Think of this section as a very haphazard and basic, but important, crash course on the vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is what is known as an mRNA vaccine which, instead of giving you a small and inactivated version of a virus, works by teaching your cells how to make the proteins that can help to trigger an immune response. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects you from getting sick. It essentially gives your cells the means to fight the virus.


The jab itself is administered into your arm and comes in two doses which are spaced 13 weeks apart. I got mine at work, and the nurses who were administering the vaccine came in their own car, while the vaccine was transported completely separately. This was to ensure that the vaccine was kept at the correct temperature. As I work in a Home where there are elderly and frail residents also getting the jab, the nurses had adrenaline on hand. Whilst I’m not too keen on needles, I did see that it was quite a small one, so that should debunk any worries about being given a tracking microchip by Bill Gates!


A lot of people’s primary concern with the vaccine is the potential aftereffects, which is understandable as we don’t know a great deal about it nor the virus itself. I was lucky that my side effects were mild to the point of being non-existent. All I have is a very small bruise. Some of my colleagues spoke with me about their arms being numb or sore, something which often happens after an injection. I am glad to report that even after two weeks, no new limbs nor nipples have appeared.


Vaccines are so important in helping us protect not only ourselves but our communities too. Vaccines of all different kinds continue each year to prevent up to 3 million deaths worldwide. They also help to eradicate illnesses that, throughout history, have had devastating consequences. At the moment, the COVID vaccine is being offered to a specific group in society: essential workers, people aged over 70, and those who are vulnerable and have been shielding. Over the next few months though, the rollout will begin to extend to other communities. We must try to protect ourselves and those around us from this virus; it has plagued our lives for too long and now we have the means to begin fighting it before it has the chance to infect more people. After all, it’s only a small scratch.


This article was edited by Tamara El-Halawani and Phoebe McKechnie, students at the University of Edinburgh.

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