giant shot with tiny people climbing on it

My Third Of Many COVID Jabs?

Last Thursday I was lucky enough to get my third Pfizer vaccination to protect me from this pesky coronavirus that doesn’t seem to be leaving us anytime soon.

This COVID nightmare has definitely affected those of us with health problems more than most. After spending a year and a half avoiding human contact until being "fully" vaccinated, I welcomed the prospect of having one final portion of protection injected into my veins.

Well, at least what I thought would be the final one.

Calling my rheumatologist

I received a text message from the NHS to book my booster jab the week before but was hesitant as to when I should schedule my appointment. This was because when I was due to get my first vaccination I was warned to avoid taking my medications for 2 weeks before and then 2 weeks after. The idea of this was to increase the efficiency of the dose as my Enbrel and Methotrexate could potentially get in the way of this happening.

Since then I have heard varying reports from other people on the use of immunosuppressants prior to the jab so I decided to call up my rheumatologist to find out the latest advice.  She told me to skip this week’s medication and make an appointment for the following week. When I brought up the fact that this advice was different last time, she appeared not to remember. I guess there‘s been so much chopping and changing with the advice and protocols that it isn't just me who can't keep up.

The appointment

Luckily I woke up on the day of my appointment to find that my back and joints had decided to take a day off from causing me too much pain. This allowed me to save a bit of money on bus fare and make the half an hour journey to the clinic on foot.

At the moment in the UK, the booster jab is only available for people over 50, those who work in healthcare, and vulnerable people with underlying health conditions. This meant that I was the youngest in the waiting room by a few decades. I had to have the classic awkward conversation with the nurse -  no I wasn’t a doctor but in fact just a 27-year-old who found himself with arthritis.

But as she was a medical professional, this news was probably not as shocking to her as it is to the people down the pub who ask why I sometimes have crutches.

The jab was quick and painless and fortunately just like the other 2 doses I experienced no side effects other than a sore arm for a few days. Something I probably wouldn't have noticed if I didn't keep poking it to check if it still hurt.

Future jabs

When I arrived home from my jab I received a phone call from my GP which worried me at first. Luckily, it was not to let me know that there was a terrible mix-up with the vaccine I’d just received. Rather they hadn’t received the memo that I had already been for my jab and were asking if I would like to book an appointment.

After clearing things up, I was told that I should probably expect another phone call after the New Year about getting a fourth dose and even that would probably not be the last of it.

They told me that due to being immunocompromised they weren't sure just how well my body would take the vaccination so the plan is to keep topping it up for the foreseeable future.

Conclusion

It would seem the term "fully vaccinated" doesn't apply to us on immunosuppressants as we seem to be heading towards a never-ending cycle of vaccine top-ups.

I am by no means against this idea - I am all for keeping myself as protected from this virus - but it does raise concerns.

I am one of the lucky ones who hasn't had many issues after receiving a dose, but of course I don't know how long that luck will last.

The lack of clarity as to whether we should stop our medications before and after the jab also worries me. Surely it can't be great in the long term if we are forced to keep stopping and starting our treatments when our jab is due.

Perhaps the biggest concern is just how protected we are if we constantly require a vaccination update.

I'd love to hear what other people have been told about stopping their meds before the vaccine. How do you feel about COVID vaccines being an ongoing thing?

Let me know in the comments.

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