My first experience of vaccination was that of the Diphtheria vaccine, then applied at 6 weeks of age. I nearly died of the cure and only left the hospital some 3 months later!

The first vaccination I remember took place when I was about 3 and we lived in East London RSA. Dad was a pathologist and we were on our way to Rhodesia. At that time such a journey required both Smallpox and Yellow fever vaccination. The good doctor decided it would be simpler to vaccinate in his office – a bad mistake! Mom, big brother and I were trooped to the office, set in a building with a quadrangle.

Mom went first, as the pathfinder, to show there was no cause for concern! Watching this process, while interesting, was not convincing to us kids. Shortening a long story, it ended up with my screaming brother lying on the floor beneath a doctor on his knees administering the scratch to the victim’s arm while I offered support, by landing repeated kicks to the doctor’s posterior while screaming “leave my brother alone!”

It was all to no avail. We were both innoculated and left the surgery walking proudly after surviving the ordeal while Mom and Dad suffered behind. It was the last time for many years that we received medical treatment at the Lab, when we were significantly older. Incidentally my brother and I became exceedingly adept at seeing and avoiding future such exercises.

As was normal in those days, the administration of vaccinations became routine and grudgingly accepted. I survived and ended up as a healthy youth when I joined the Army. After an initial medical and the administration of a number of vaccines, I eventually achieved the exalted rank of Second Lieutenant.

As officer cadets we were vaccinated with the TABT jab which covered typhoid, para-typhoid and tetanus innoculation. For those who have been on the receiving end of this jab, it ain’t no fun! The initial vaccination involves two injections a month apart. Thereafter there is an annual booster.

I received the annual booster prior to being commissioned and then was posted to a new unit just before their booster programme took place. I arrived at my new unit and, despite protestations, was formed up and given a second booster, about a month after the first one!

The results were exciting with hallucinations, high temperature and a very tender right arm. The problem was that, while I was vaccinated on a Friday, I was part of an honour guard at a military wedding the next day! I nearly decapitated the bride!!!

I appreciate the value of vaccination and encourage you to accept the COVID 19 Vaccination (less the Chinese option) when it becomes available. I am certain it is less uncomfortable than COVID.

Keep well, stay happy and always remember that there are other people with greater problems than you have!