It’s the only sense of hope we have left. The only way we’ve been told we can go forward: vaccinations. It’s in every news briefing, every overheard conversation, every school email. Who do we know that actually has it?


As of January 6th, 2021, the government announced that 1.3 million people in the UK had received their first dose of the vaccination: pivotal news. One of those 1.3 million people was Britt Iversen, mother of 2 daughters and a son with Downs Syndrome. Britt and her husband Nigel both got vaccinated ‘as a carer of a nearly 18-year-old son with multi-sensory learning difficulties’, and Britt explained that they ‘need to stay strong and healthy as parents to be there for him and his 2 sisters’. Depending on the severity of the Downs syndrome, most people tend to be on the ‘high risk’ list, thus able to get the vaccine. 


Perhaps the most memorable part of our conversation was Britt’s statement that ‘It was never a question for us whether or not to be vaccinated, it was a question of how soon can we’. A data source (which includes statistics from the University of Oxford and other commendable academic sources) recently announced that ‘7% of people globally disagree that vaccines are safe’, showing the frightening side of misinformation in the media. Many people admit to feeling anxious prior to receiving the vaccine, especially due to the fear of the unknown- Britt admits to feeling ‘a bit nervous at the speed of the vaccination development but reassured by the UK excellence in health standards’. She carefully adjusted her viewpoint once understanding that the typically slow-moving ‘sequential approval processes and funding stages’ ran in parallel, thus making the original process speed up. The health security standards weren’t compromised - so Britt and her family felt secure and safe.


In terms of the logistics, Britt describes the experience as ‘amazingly well managed by our family GP’, and even goes as far to say that she ‘nearly cried at being there, being prioritised, and being in a country with the NHS!). The injection was from the Pfizer vaccination, and Britt and Nigel were called into the local church call, with a ‘brilliant bunch of volunteers’, to have their first jab. There must be a second jab after 3 weeks, to ensure it reaches it’s maximum 95% efficiency after the full two doses. 


My final question was asking if there was anything that Britt and the Iversen family would have wanted to be different. She believes there was ‘nothing at the time’, but now she feels the need for the experience to be ‘faster now for everyone’. 


It is, of course, so hard to remain patient, especially with those around us receiving vaccinations, but we must help those at higher risk. When we hear experiences of those who felt that the vaccination took ‘2 seconds’ and was ‘so quick, so easy’ we start to gain hope again. The fact that the country is being run by scientists and volunteers to help those in difficult circumstances with health conditions is truly incredible.


As Britt said - the whole experience reminds us to be ‘so grateful’.