Ireland day 0050. Wednesday 17 November 2021- Booster
Well today was relatively unusual in two respects.
The first is that I went on an international day-trip for the first time since I left Shell in 2002 and the second is that Val started a new job.
Taking the international trip first:
The good news is that now that we have PPS numbers and are registered with an Irish GP, we could probably get Covid booster vaccinations in Ireland. But unless you are an Irish passport-holder, there is no way of getting your previous English NHS Covid vaccine certificates into the EU system. So it would be very hard to get a complete Covid vaccine record in one place – or maybe even at all.
There does seem however to be a bit of pressure building to get a booster vaccination, as it’s six months since I had my last one, and because whilst cases in Ireland are apparently soaring, the programme to give boosters to my age group seems still to be some way off.
Val got her booster when she was back in the UK last week and I decided to take the path of least resistance and copy her. I would simply fly to the UK and get a booster vaccination at the centre nearest whatever airport I landed at. So I did some googling and worked out that the cheapest and most convenient destination with a nearby vaccination centre would be Gatwick. So I duly bought the tickets and then got up at the crack of dawn this morning to take the now-familiar 102 bus to Dublin airport. (By the way the return air ticket cost €24 so given that the vaccination was free, even when you factor in the bus and train fares, it was cheaper to come to the UK for the Covid vaccine than it was to walk round the corner to get my flu jab at the pharmacy in Malahide).
I have to admit it felt quite good to be in an airport flying somewhere again – travelling is something I enjoy and I have missed being able to do it over the last months. The flight was very straightforward – the plane was only a quarter full at most, it departed early and we seemed to arrive in Gatwick in next to no time. I walked pretty much straight off the plane onto the train down to the vaccination centre. I was surprised that immigration (both leaving Ireland and entering the UK, and then the same in reverse) was a remarkably simple process, taking no more than seconds each time. I guess being in the common travel area helps.
I arrived early at the vaccination centre and was seen immediately. In fact I was vaccinated just two hours after taking off from Dublin. I lingered a while to see if I was going to have an anaphylactic shock (I didn’t), then returned to Gatwick for a delayed breakfast. Being so early, I had four hours to kill at the airport before my return flight but it passed quickly enough and afforded me a rare opportunity to practice my Spanish homework and read my book.
The return flight was as straightforward as the outward, and equally empty, so after another trundle on the 102 bus, I was back in the flat by 7:45 pm. So now I have at last removed my mask (it was getting a bit tedious after 13 hours) and am waiting for the side effects to kick in. So far so good (on Val’s advice I took a load of prophylactic paracetamol). Though I had the Moderna vaccine which has caused quite severe side reactions with other members of our family in the past, so I am prepared for the worst. I just hope I’m well enough to test drive the el cheapo Yaris tomorrow. It’s just too good a bargain to miss. I think.
And on the second of today’s developments – Val, being an incurable workaholic, has started a part time evening job as an event steward at the nearby Malahide castle. It’s four evenings a week and is just for a few weeks in the run up to Christmas. But she is really excited about it and as I write this, she is just finishing her first shift. I shall look forward to hearing all about it on her return.
It’s a good job those PPS numbers came through, on so many counts!
Today’s photos (click to enlarge)