Vaccination in Majorca. | C. VIERA

“Have you had your shot yet?” That seems to be what everyone is asking at the moment. One friend sent me a WhatsApp message recently where the ‘o’ accidentally became an ‘i’, asking a completely different question altogether! But with Mallorca finally rolling out the much awaited vaccines, the ‘shot’ rate in question is finally flying like a rocket, albeit one with the hand brake on!

Personally, I must say that having the vaccine has given me a certain feeling of protection, along with a knowing confidence that we are all moving another step closer to conquering this unprecedented virus which has plagued all our lives for the past twelve months and more.

Mind you, some individuals in Covid denial have never stopped going ahead full throttle with their busy lives, disrespecting other people’s concerns, whilst disregarding general safety guidelines and protocol.

Thankfully, the vaccine also affords some kind of protection from these so called ‘free thinkers’ who obviously won’t be thinking ‘freely’ or otherwise about taking a vaccine shot themselves (unless of course it’s a Budfizer!) Or going anywhere near a hospital to burden the Spanish Healthcare System should they unfortunately contract the free thinking virus themselves!

With the success of the vaccine rollout dominating the UK press, I had some reservations as to how the ‘system’ here in Mallorca would pan out, and how the authorities would cope with such a demanding and delicate programme.

But I must say, I felt a tad guilty for ever doubting the efficiency of the Mallorcan collective who, unless it’s a fiesta, have sadly gained the reputation of not being able to organize a sing song in a church choir.

And although it’s taken some time to truly gear up and get started, with opposition parties questioning the repeated delays, along with the scandal of inappropriate queue jumping by certain government/political figures, the vaccine programme is finally on some kind of steady, rolling track.

Admitedly, what with all the Brexit nonsense out there, I was slightly concerned when Mallorcan neighbours received the ‘call’, and ‘we’ the British yet Spanish Residents hadn’t heard a thing. Other Half was on the official helpline quicker than a rat up a drainpipe, and was assured by an extremely helpful operative, who confirmed that we were both ‘definitely’ on the system, and told that appointments were being handled by an army of agents who were working through their individual, allocated lists.

Worry over . . . we just had to put trust in the system and patiently wait our turn. Miraculously, 12 hours later Other Half got the call; then a completely different worry kicked in! Other Half was instructed to report to PAC in Inca, and not the ultra modern, bells and whistles, light and airy location at the municipal sports centre, which we were expecting, mainly because that’s where the neighbours were heading, who were also in line to receive exactly the same Pfizer vaccine.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with PAC in Inca, but being an older building and also open for emergencies, there was a slight worry that it would be smaller, and a little more crowded than we would have liked. Also, with some local citizens of a certain age still being a little vague about safety protocol, there was some personal anxiety.

However, our hands were immediately sanitized on entering the building, and although it was initially a little crowded in the main reception lobby, once directed upstairs, we found our way to the vaccine hub and it was safe sailing.

Wherever you go these days there will always be those who are still uncertain about the difference between two metres and two feet. Even a young medic in a pristine white coat ‘squeezed’ past when he could easily have ‘distanced’ and navigated a safer pass! But hey ho there you go, jump aside and don’t be slow!

Once checked in, the nurse administering the vaccine was very friendly and helpful. We arrived twenty minutes early but no problem. Other Half was ‘jabbed’ almost immediately, and we sat for the required 15 minutes in the allotted waiting area. But at least that was one down, with one to go, and thankfully apart from a slightly sore arm, no side effects whatsoever.

My experience was a little different. Other Half went online (as suggested by the helpline) and my appointment was scheduled to take place in the ultra modern, bells and whistles, light and airy location at the municipal sports centre in Inca. I also received a confirmation printout with details of Astra Zeneca, a QR code, and notes explaining the procedure (something PAC didn’t have the facility to offer).

On arrival at the centre we were approached by a meet and greet marshal wearing a mask and visor, who sanitised our hands and registered my details, enquiring about any medication or allergies etc. The location was extremely quiet, with a ‘one way only’ directional route. We were led with distanced protocol in place to one of four lines where the vaccines were being administered.

After being given a printout document with details and date for the second vaccine, we were led to a spacious waiting area marked out in the large sports hall. It was very airy, well ventilated and efficiently organised. The chairs were set a good ‘two metres plus’ apart, and as people left after their 15 minute respite, their chairs were reversed so no-one else would sit in them.

After a few moments the said chairs were cleaned and sprayed with a sanitiser. We left via the one way lane, and the whole experience couldn’t have been better planned or thought out. So impressed!

I don’t know if individual vaccination sites are all following a generic formula of operation, or whether the locations are managed and run ad hoc, but the organization at the sports centre was run with military precision, so smooth, ultra thorough and instilled immediate confidence.

Everyone there seemed to be working together as a well structured team. One unit with a common interest – the public’s safety. There was absolutely nothing at PAC that was amiss, but it just goes to show how the same procedure can be interpreted and delivered in different ways at two different venues.

The job got done professionally in both, but obviously, from a patient’s perspective, a little more organised in one than the other. A Tale of Two Sitios: or as the great bard Señor Carlos Dickens once said – Up Yours Mr Bumble! And just go and get vaccinated wherever the sitio!