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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

V Day

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas FEBRUARY. 25, 2021

[208-365] 25th. February 2021- Today was the big day and I don't know why but I was really stressed out about the whole thing. I am not even worried about injections so I'm not sure what it was, maybe just carrying the weight of the whole year and all that has happened that has led up to this moment made me very emotional.

The scale of the whole process was also a bit overwhelming as ours were done at one of the mass vaccination centres not one of the smaller local centres. It all ran very smoothly as this centre has only been operating for about two weeks and I know there were teething troubles the day it opened but they seemed to have worked through them.

I will apologise here for the quality of the photos but the fact that there were signs everywhere saying no photography and also that the photos were a secondary consideration, means I could not take any inside apart from the one.

If you are squeamish or afraid of needles don't scroll to the end.

Our centre is based at Plymouth Argyle Football Stadium ( Or Soccer if you are that way inclined). The Green Army are the fans and their food of choice the pasty means their sponsorship has to be with Ginsters, probably the most famous pasties in the UK.

Plymouth Argyle Football Club is a professional football club based in the city of Plymouth, Devon, England. As of the 2020–21 season, the team are competing in League One, the third tier of English football. They have played at Home Park, known as the "Theatre of Greens", since 1901.

The club takes its nickname, "The Pilgrims", from an English religious group that left Plymouth for the New World in 1620. The club crest features the Mayflower, the ship that carried the pilgrims to Massachusetts. The club has predominantly played in green and white throughout their history, with a few exceptions in the late 1960s and early 1970s when white was the colour of choice. A darker shade of green, described (by some) as Argyle green, was adopted in the 2001–02 season, and has been used ever since.

Originally founded simply as Argyle in 1886, the club turned professional and entered both the Southern League and Western League as Plymouth Argyle in 1903.

The reception centre was housed in a marquee where they checked our registration numbers. Registration happens online when the online system asks various questions to determine if you are eligible at this time.

The eligibility criteria are based on three factors, age, vulnerability and frontline worker status. This week the eligibility opened up to those above 60, plus those of all ages with illnesses that class them as vulnerable. This means we witnessed a mix of elderly, walking wounded and the very young.

Photography was banned beyond this point to respect patient and staff privacy but I really wanted to get a photo of my injection so I was very discreet and used my phone, only getting it out once I was in the privacy of the vaccination pod. In the vaccination pod there is an administrator checking your data and the person giving the injection. I was so determined to get a shot of the needle that I didn't feel anything, I also didn't know what sort of photo I would get as it was all over so quick so I just had to point and press and hope for the best. The staff didn't mind at all once I made clear it was just the close up of my arm and didn't include them. We all agreed we were witnessing history in the making.

You don't get to choose which vaccine you get as this is mostly down to supply chains and availability. We were given the AstraZeneca or Oxford vaccine. Officially ChAdOx1-S [recombinant].

The Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, codenamed AZD1222, is a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca given by intramuscular injection, using as a vector the modified chimpanzee adenovirus ChAdOx1. (No jokes about swinging from trees thank you)

The research was done by the Oxford University's Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group with the collaboration of the Italian manufacturer Advent Srl located in Pomezia, which produced the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine for clinical testing. The team is led by Sarah Gilbert, Adrian Hill, Andrew Pollard, Teresa Lambe, Sandy Douglas and Catherine Green.

On 30 December 2020, the vaccine was approved for use in the UK's vaccination programme, and the first vaccination outside of a trial was administered on 4 January 2021. In the last month, hospital admissions have fallen by almost 75%.

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