When the Government suddenly lowered the age range to offer free COVID vaccine jabs to anybody over 30 – which you’ll be surprised to learn I marginally surpassed – I felt like I’d just been handed a Golden Ticket for Willy Wonka’s Vaccine Factory! This was like chocolate, only better.
The process was amazingly slick. Smiling staff greeted me and walked me through each step of the journey. I got given free stickers, a pen, a keepsake souvenir brochure reminding me of my big day out and a lollypop for being particularly brave.
But my little bubble of bliss barely lasted 20 seconds. As I walked out, the crowd had turned inexplicably angry. I asked a harassed security guard what the problem was and he informed me that the vaccine I had received seconds earlier had been “permanently suspended for safety reasons”.
My stomach lurched, my heartbeat quickened, my vaccinated arm felt like it belonged to somebody else. 5 seconds ago I’d been in WonkaLand, finally having a decent day out worthy of the portmanteau ‘staycation’. Now I was going to have to spend the evening sawing my own arm off to prevent the rancid vaccine from spreading.
I checked my phone for a reassuring explanation, but the only advice I could find online was a vague appeal for calm by Hong Kong’s Chief Medical Officer urging recently vaccinated people “not to panic overly”. I was panicking alright. But I could not tell if I was panicking overly, underly, or just right for the situation.
It wasn’t until I was speed-walking home that explanations about cracked vials, faulty packaging and vaccines being stored at the wrong air pressure emerged in an avalanche of news alerts sent to my phone. As I trawled through them, the slight discomfort in my vaccinated arm was suddenly cancelled out by the primal face ache caused by a nose cracking, as mine made impact with a rogue lamppost.
I’d like to say the lamppost came out of our tussle worse off than I did and ended up looking something like this …
… Unfortunately, this is just a diagram of my sinuses.
Anyway, it turns out the vac was only suspended through an abundance of caution. I received my second jab today. As she jammed the needle in my arm, the nurse asked if I’d experienced any unpleasant side-effects from the first jab. “Only a broken nose,” I nasally assured her.