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‘Have a look at the data’: Why I decided to get the COVID-19 jab

A hospital pharmacist describes how a little research allayed his apprehension about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

Michael Smith, a pharmacist at University Hospital Wishaw in North Lanarkshire, Scotland received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in December after addressing his concerns by reading a report on the vaccine trial results.

Mr Smith recounts his experience of receiving the vaccine to C+D clinical editor Naimah Callachand in a podcast. “I was apprehensive [before deciding to get the vaccine], and I think that's only natural,” he says. His concerns lead him to read a paper that was first published by the New England Journal of Medicine on December 10, 2020.

“I would definitely encourage anyone to read that paper if they’re still sitting on the fence [about getting the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine],” he says. The paper shows that the vaccine was 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection.

“Probably most of what we know about the vaccine, if you don't go looking for that, is from mainstream media…so you're not actually getting into the nitty gritty of what actually happened during the trial.

“As a pharmacist, I think that's quite important to understand. I would encourage anyone who is still not decided about this vaccine to go and have a look at the data because it’s quite good data.”

A paper showing the results of the trial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which was approved last month for UK use, was published by The Lancet on December 8, 2020.

More than half of pharmacy professionals (56%) who answered a C+D poll say they will not get a COVID-19 vaccine. The poll received 186 respondents between December 3 and December 11.

Listen to the podcast below to find out more about:

  • The mild and “usual” side-effects Mr Smith had the day after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, including a headache and tiredness.
  • How Mr Smith has no colleagues who have refused the COVID-19 vaccine, although some had apprehensions.
  • The importance of pharmacists leading the efforts to get people vaccinated by example.

You can listen to the podcast below. Alternatively, subscribe to C+D's podcasts by searching “Chemist+Druggist podcast” on your preferred app or on Soundcloud.

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