The 10th February marked the 50th anniversary of the release of Carol King’s album, Tapestry. In 2020, Tapestry was ranked number 25 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Listening to it again over recent days, it still speaks to me as powerfully as it did all those years ago. The songs on the Tapestry album are like companions for navigating the doubts and disappointments of everyday life and in these challenging times, boy, do we need those companions. The opening line of one song on the album ‘Beautiful’ resonated particularly strongly with me on Thursday morning last week:
“You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face“
On Wednesday around 4.45pm my wife and I became members of what is for the moment a very exclusive group of people worldwide – we received our first Covid-19 vaccination. For that reason we were able to wake up with a particularly big smile on our faces on Thursday morning.
The second line of that song: “And show the world all the love in your heart” sums up beautifully the warmth with which we were greeted and taken care of from the start to the finish of the vaccination process.
We cannot praise the staff and volunteers highly enough. From the moment we parked in the West Street car park we were guided by volunteers, who despite the extremely cold conditions, all greeted us with a smile as we walked to the Bridport Medical Centre.
On arrival, we took our place in the queue that snaked around the car park towards the entrance. The positive spirit was clear from the expression on people’s masked faces and the good humoured conversations taking place. The line made steady progress and before we knew it we were at the door where hands were sanitised before entering. Once inside in a matter of minutes we were both in one of the consulting rooms where we received our jabs.
My wife had her jab first then it was my turn. A few questions to answer and before I knew it the Pfizer vaccine had been administered. I did not feel a thing and neither of us have suffered any reaction since.
Following the vaccination we moved on into a marquee to sit quietly for 15 minutes before setting off for home.
We are truly extremely fortunate to have had the Covid-19 vaccination. On the day we had our vaccine, data published in the Financial Times from 88 locations around the world showed that at least 160,697,240 doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered worldwide. Now 160 million might sound like a huge number but relative to a current world population of 7.8 billion it means only 2% of the people on the planet have thus far had a vaccination. There is still a very long way to go before the whole world can begin to feel safe again thanks to the vaccines.
Since the smallpox vaccine, the first successful vaccine to be developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner, vaccines have proved time and time again to be the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. Growing up, I remember having to suffer illnesses like measles that are thankfully extremely rare today. My encounter proved to be mild, but classmates in my junior school were not so fortunate. For example, my friend Michael returned to school some months after his bout of measles a different boy. I now know he had been one of the unlucky ones to suffer acute encephalitis. On his return to school he had difficulties with memory, concentration, balance, mood swings, aggression, clumsiness, and epilepsy. The boy who previously ran around the playground and played games with us now struggled and could only stand and watch us through his newly acquired glasses.
For over 200 years vaccinations have been protecting us from an increasing number of diseases that were once prevalent and killed or caused serious harm to millions of people. As recently as 1967, smallpox caused more than 10 million deaths a year. The image of the young woman from Gloucester taken in 1923 is now thankfully a thing of the past thanks to the smallpox vaccine. Smallpox has now been eradicated.
The Covid-19 vaccines are the latest one to come to our rescue. The uptake amongst those who have been offered it in Bridport has been extremely high. This is excellent news and I hope as the programme continues through younger age groups, that this level of uptake continues to be the case if we are to have a chance of truly getting on the disease. For all our sakes if you are offered the opportunity to be vaccinated please take it.
If you are over 65 you will have recently received a letter informing you that your vaccination is due. Please make sure that your contact details are up to date with Bridport Medical Centre, especially your mobile phone number as they will be contacting you by text to make your appointment on line. Please don’t phone the Medical Centre, they will contact you when it is your turn.
On behalf of all those who are being vaccinated at the Bridport Medical Centre a huge thank you for all you are doing for us.