Since December, staff at the Tessa Jowell Health Care Centre, in East Dulwich have been busy vaccinating many of our elderly and vulnerable population.  I interviewed a 78-year-old gentleman who had recently been given his vaccination.

When asking him how his vaccination was, he replied, ‘everything was good, the staff were helpful and guided me where to go.  It was very well organised.  There was social distancing throughout.  Someone asked me questions very thoroughly and then I was taken into the room where I was given the vaccine by a nurse.  The next two days after, I had a sore arm and took some paracetamol but following this I was fine.’  

I wanted to know how he felt now and whether his attitude to the virus had changed.  ‘There is no outcome yet, I think time will tell, but I feel a sense of relief and I feel more fortunate than others who are still waiting for their vaccinations.  I hope it will work and help me.  It doesn’t make me feel 100 percent secure that I can go anywhere. I still need to follow social distancing rules, I am avoiding mixing with people and I am still confined to my house.  But I hope after my second jab things will get better and I will be able to go out again.’  I asked him what vaccination he had and if he had minded.  He told me had had the AstraZeneca and he ‘did not have a choice in the decision’ but he was just ‘grateful to be offered one’.   

I then asked him how the past year had been. He said ’the first few months of lockdown last year were not bad, the weather was nice and I was able to sit in my garden and take short walks.  However, the past winter season has been very difficult for me as it is cold and wet, so you are restricted in going out.  I also feel bored as it has been a very long time since I have seen friends and family.’

When asking him what his hopes for 2021 were, he said, ‘I hope that in the summer everything will be okay.  I am sure it won’t be normal, but I hope the restrictions will be lessened and I will be able to see family and friends.’

It was clear from speaking to him that Lockdown has been hard, especially for the elderly community.  However, the new vaccinations are bringing hope of a brighter future and a return to ‘normal’ life.