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Lisa Hutchins works on reception at our Solihull Home, joining shortly before the pandemic struck. She was one of the many staff to receive the vaccine at the Home, despite concerns surrounding a food allergy, and explains why she had the jab

I’ve been with Royal Star & Garter for a year. I started in January 2020, so I had a month of seeing the Home running normally, and then in February it started to become apparent that this virus was going to be very difficult.

 

I initially went to have the vaccine at a session set up at a GP surgery. When I was there, I told them that I had a shellfish allergy and they said I couldn’t have the jab. But when the GP at the Home (Dr Hillman) came, she told me that unless you need an adrenaline pen and have severe anaphylactic shock, that you can go ahead with it. I was a bit nervous, but I was reassured that unless I have severe reactions to food and medication, I could have the Pfizer vaccine. So I had it.

 

The injection was fine. People have to stay behind for 15 minutes after the jab, but they kept me behind for 30 minutes because of my food allergy, but I didn’t have a reaction. It stung a little when the needle went in, and I had a sore arm the next day, but it certainly wasn’t upsetting to have it.

 

My children are grown-up, and one is clinically vulnerable. So, I would definitely encourage them to have the vaccine. They had all of their vaccines when they were little, I’m certainly not an anti-vaxxer. I also have a couple of family members who are prone to chest infections, so I will be happy when they receive the vaccine. My best friend had Covid, and she was really poorly with it. She could hardly speak for two months, and she’s pretty much the same age as me. That was another reason I wanted to have the vaccine.

 

I think it’s really important that staff and residents have the jab. I think vaccines are very important, as some diseases have been eradicated in the past through vaccination programmes. It would mean life returning slowly back to normal too when everyone is vaccinated, because for the past nine months all I have done is come to work and go home. I’ve seen very little of my family. Even during the time when I could visit, I have kept it to an absolute minimum because of where I work.

 

It would also help return the Home to something like normality too, as it was when I started, although we’ll still have PPE and social distancing as you can still spread Covid even if you are vaccinated. In my first month here, there were lots of visitors, family members, entertainers, and we even had dogs coming in. There was such a great atmosphere… who wouldn’t want to return to that?