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My Birthday Gift was a Covid Jab

Mike Tungay, from Hammersmith, west London, is one of the millions who have received a first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine as the country races towards the 15 February deadline for protecting the elderly and other at-risk groups from the Covid-19 pandemic

‘Yes please’: Tungay is one of the elderly in the phase one Covid vaccination programme to have received the first vaccine dose | RAWPIXEL

On Wednesday 13th January 2021 it was my 76th birthday.  The following day I had a birthday present from my doctors’ practice asking me whether I would like a Covid-19 vaccination, to which I replied “yes please”.  I was then asked if could I make an appointment for 9.15am the following day, to which I replied “I certainly can”.

I had to go to Richford Gate Medical Centre in Shepherd’s Bush and on arrival, 10 minutes early, I joined the queue with about 20 people ahead of me, socially distanced, outside on a forecourt with chairs provided for the elderly.  It took about 30 minutes for me to get to the front of the queue and I had my temperature taken.  A nice, friendly, young lady then interviewed me asking all the normal questions and wished me a “happy birthday”.  I then progressed to another room where a doctor explained what the procedure would be and that it would be just a small prick in the arm and it would be unlikely that I would have any side effects and she was absolutely right.  I do now feel a lot safer but will still follow all the government guidelines.

“I do now feel a lot safer but will still follow government guidelines”


A few days before my birthday I had developed a rash on both my lower arms and thinking this was a heat rash did nothing about it until a week later.  I went online to my doctors’ surgery to book an appointment and the procedure is you fill in an online form that asks questions about why you want to see a doctor.  On completing the form the final page appeared with a red warning sign saying that I needed to phone 111 as the rash might be Covid-related.  This was very alarming.  I phoned 111 and spoke to Noreen, who also wished me a “happy birthday”, and she said my GP practice would phone me later that afternoon. 

Within an hour Dr Yin Yin Lee called and asked lots of questions and requested that I send photos of the area showing the rash, which I did immediately.  He then called back and said that he did not think it was Covid-related but that it was a bacterial infection and could be dealt with by applying ointment, which is already making a difference.  I found this to be a quite harrowing experience and was greatly relieved with the doctor’s diagnosis.

Mike Tungay contributes regularly to WLT

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