Saturday, March 27, 2021


I'm on annual leave until after Easter now. My first day of annual leave was Thursday, and included a trip to the brand new mass vaccination facility in Cardiff Bay. It used to be Toys'R'Us, so it was a little bit odd going back into an environment I used to know quite well.

It was the first day the centre was open, which I didn't realise when I took the appointment. I walked in and immediately met my colleague Nick, who works for the Service Improvement Team in the health board and is an expert in systems design in healthcare. He was tracking how long it took people to go through the process. It took me 7 minutes, and that included a comprehensive discussion with the nurse about the relative risks.

The streamlined efficiency illustrates something I have long believed about healthcare - if people who know how to organise healthcare processes are given the opportunity to design them from scratch then they will work really well. Most healthcare processes have accreted organically over time and reflect the needs of healthcare providers rather than focusing on the overall strategic aim. In this case, the aim is to get as many needles into as many arms as possible in a safe environment, and it worked really well.

I had the Oxford Astra-Zeneca jab and had heard from a number of people that the side effects could be rough. I was fine until the early evening when a headache started to develop. Within a couple of hours I had a temperature and was shivering. I felt very poorly - so rough that Cathy had to help me get changed for bed - and had a bad night's sleep as a result. 

Yesterday I felt fragile first thing and stayed in bed late, but started feeling stronger by lunchtime. A good shower helped. Today I have felt even better again, in fact, I've felt better than I have done for a while, and was able to take advantage of the release in Lockdown rules to go and sit in the back garden of my friends' new house. 

The side effects to the vaccine are apparently a sign that the body is producing antibodies to the nasty Covid-19 virus. Hopefully my rough few hours mean that I am now chock-full of antibodies and immune to the bug that has stopped the world. I'm looking forward to things starting to open up again, especially now I'm fully vaccinated. 

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