My Vaccine Story: Getting my shot at Westminster Abbey
- Posted on March 25, 2021
- Estimated reading time 2 minutes
Last week I was invited to get my vaccine. When you are at high-risk because of an underlying condition, the pandemic can be an especially difficult and unsettling time. Like everyone else, I have experienced the pandemic in waves. One day, things feel really positive and I feel grateful for my health, job, and ability to make decisions that can protect myself and others – such access to PPE and the ability to isolate. There are also the days that feel more challenging, where I miss my family, and feel confined to a small London apartment that I never planned to spend so much time in. The news that my vaccination appointment was just five days away surfaced all of these emotions, but most of all, I felt gratitude and relief.
By the time my appointment came, I was so excited that I arrived 30 minutes early! I wasn’t sure what to expect – no one I know has received their vaccine yet. I approached the venue, Westminster Abbey out of all places, and was cleared to go in. If you are not familiar with Westminster Abbey, it is one of the most famous religious and historic buildings in the world. It is the final resting place for royalty, prime ministers and writers (to name a few), the site of coronations and weddings, and most recently vaccinations. I have lived in London for 11 years and have never visited, and I was truly taken back by its beauty.
The vaccine itself, painless and quick, was not the only highlight for me. As I was waiting my turn, it wasn’t just for my jab, but for national treasure Stephen Fry to finish his so I could take his seat. Not only was it a surprise to see a celebrity, but his presence meant that this moment, already so important to me, would be captured on the news as well. And just in case the airlines need a vaccine passport, I can always show them this clip where I appear halfway through snapping some pictures of Westminster Abbey.
I took the tube home for the first time in a year. The last time I was at that very tube station, I was on my way home from the Avanade offices before they closed. It was almost a year to the day – how much has changed since then! I also joined Avanade on a full-time basis last March, the best decision I could have made for myself. I have never felt so supported by an employer, and more proud to work somewhere.
It is bittersweet knowing that my parents who live in Belgium are still a long way from getting their vaccine, and many others are in the same position. While I take comfort in knowing I am partially protected (my next appointment is in May), I know many others are not and it will take time. But I am filled with gratitude and hope – the future looks bright and I will be reunited with my family soon.