Real life

Just how far will the NHS go to get me jabbed up?

22 May 2021

9:00 AM

22 May 2021

9:00 AM

More threatening letters from the NHS demanding I let them jab me up with two Covid vaccinations.

Or as the builder boyfriend put it: ‘Now that more people are choking to death on paella getting stuck in their windpipe than are dying of Covid, how are they going to force us to get vaccinated? And what are they going to do about the dangers of paella? Ban paella? Require paella to carry a warning? Tell people they must wear a mask when coming into contact with paella?’

I don’t mind being denounced as stupid, by the way. My own mother rang me and told me off for being stupid after I first wrote that I didn’t want the jab.

I told her that was fine. I went through it with Brexit. I’m used to being called stupid when polite society disagrees with me.

But let’s just say I’m definitely wrong about Covid — so what? Do stupid people not have rights now? Do stupid people not have freedom of speech? Do stupid people get held down and injected? Did I wander into a re-enactment of The Manchurian Candidate?

And how long do I have to be denounced as stupid this time before society grudgingly concedes that I and all the other stupid people might have a point?


Part of me doesn’t want the vaccine because I am so allergic to so many things it would be just my luck to drop down dead, no matter how remote the odds. Also, I do feel I had Covid and recovered, so it occurs to me that my everlasting natural antibodies might be preferable to a temporary fix.

Part of me also thinks it’s a cheek that everything I have ever asked the NHS to do for me it has refused to do, from the crippling bunion on my right big toe that was deemed ‘resolved’ after a physiotherapist showed me how to stretch my calves and so prevent it getting worse (in theory, not in practice, it turns out) to the agonising cysts on my ovaries which had to be removed privately after a south London hospital said it was not their ‘policy’ to remove ovarian cysts, or laser off stage three endometriosis.

Lately, they won’t do anything about my high blood pressure, because a nurse said it wasn’t high enough. I can’t get to see the GP so her opinion is all I’m getting.

Broadly, the NHS only wants to do the things to me they want to do. They want me to have a smear test, despite the fact I have them privately with the surgeon who removed the cysts. When I went for my blood pressure test, the nurse said private smear tests didn’t count. I told her they so did count.

And now they really want to stick a needle in my arm, so a part of me doesn’t want the jab to be as difficult to them as they have been to me. But an even bigger part of me doesn’t want it because I want to see what happens to someone who refuses it.

I mean I want to refuse it journalistically, in order to do research. Let me not have the vaccine for you, if you will. Because if they get much more aggressive, I may find out some interesting and pertinent information in the wider public interest.

First I got a text inviting me, which I ignored. Then I got a text reminding me. Then I got two texts instructing me that even if I didn’t want the vaccine I had to reply and explain myself. No, I don’t. Listen to me very carefully, NHS. You are making this up as you go along. You have no power by which you can compel me to explain myself to you.

After I ignored that, a letter came in a very forbidding envelope, like an Inland Revenue reminder. It was four pages long, including translations in 16 languages from Urdu, Gujarati and Farsi to Albanian, Somali and Nepali.

Because I have now refused to a more than average extent, the NHS cannot be sure I am not from a culture that means they will have to be polite to me and maybe even allow me not to have the vaccine. So they ask quite nicely in this letter but at the end they do warn me that if I still don’t book, I may receive a phone call from the ‘NHS Immunisation Management Service’.

My local GP may also send me separate texts. I don’t much care about that. I get letters from them regularly accusing me of being an outlaw for not obeying their smear test call-ups. But I do mind about being ‘managed’. No one manages me, so let’s see where this goes next.

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