I am a young, healthy 26-year-old that caught covid back in July on my birthday. This was after having two covid jabs – and I am incredibly grateful to the vaccine for reducing the impact of my symptoms and risk of hospitalisation. Back in December 2020, I was lucky to receive the Versace of vaccines, the Pfizer jab, because I was working in the NHS in administration. I was fully vaccinated in January, when most people still had not even dreamt of having their first. I counted myself incredibly lucky to have the second jab in that 3-week window the government had initially advised, before backtracking into a 12 week wait. This all occurred within one of the lockdowns.
Fast forward to July 2021, life looked very different. Restrictions had vastly eased, and like many youngsters, I had been socializing more. I had seen my family at restaurants, had groups of less than 6 friends at my house and zoom was left for work purposes instead of socialising. Whilst I had succumbed to hugging loved ones, I still had my colourful masks wrapped around my face for the outside world. I thought I had found a somewhat safe balance.
Till one day, I began to cough – and sneeze. Hay fever, surely, after all sneezing is not a covid symptom. I took my fexofenadine, but this had not relieved anything. My gut told me to just check if it could be covid, even though I couldn’t fathom being infected. After all, Freedom Day (when all covid restrictions would cease to exist) was pending in the UK – and so was my birthday! If I were infected, especially after avoiding pubs for the Euro’s games, wouldn’t that be a cruel twist of fate? Surely enough, within ten minutes of taking the lateral flow test, I could see the two lines crop up.
I was in denial, obviously, so I did another one and this one confirmed what I knew from the first one. I had covid. Straightaway, I informed my driving instructor that I was due to see later that day, people I had seen in the past week, and I had prematurely told my work, I will be well enough to continue as I worked from home anyway. Later that day, I progressively got worse and spiralled into reading of the delta variant and breakthrough cases.
Symptoms of the delta variant include: sore throat, headache, fever, sneezing, and coughing. These can be so easily confused with hay fever, allergies or the common cold. If you’re one of the 1 in 100 been pinged by the car crash of the Serco app track and trace app, then it’s likely you really have been in contact with an infected individual. We saw the delta variant wreak havoc in India where it originated and have collectively forgotten their gasps as they were literally selling oxygen on the black market, where people were dying on the streets.
The delta variant is now the dominant strain in the UK and is breaking loose in the young population that have been traipsing our streets. Thanks to the huge success of our vaccine roll out, the delta strain has infected a largely vaccinated population. Its virulence is dampened as we can see from the hospital admissions – but not completely, as we also see from the slow increase in admissions. We were here last summer, as we had collectively fought through to bring the death rate down, only for it to shoot back up after eating out as much as we could to ‘help out’ the economy.
The bitterness of this fear inducing increase almost makes me forget about the aches and pains I felt, the constant coughing and never-ending headaches, the sudden fatigue that catapulted me into very long naps during self-isolation. This was a mild case as copious amounts of Covenia, lemon and honey helped fight the covid. I had also never felt closer to Andrew Marr and Sajid Javed as two other members who have had breakthrough cases – having symptoms of covid post vaccination.
Without being vaccinated, I would have likely fought it off, but I am positive (excuse the pun), I would have been sicker for longer or have more intense symptoms. Marr and Javed aren’t as young as me, so they surely would have faired worse too. There are plenty of people who won’t show any symptoms till one day they lose their sense of smell and realise they contracted long covid due to damage done by the delta or one of its successor variants.
It is now September 2021 and I eagerly await when I can have the booster as the immunity is supposedly lowered after around 6 months. I no longer work in the NHS so I do not have the same priority I did before. Whilst having covid may have given me a small immune boost against the virus, who’s to say how long for? You may be thinking if you’ve had covid, this is the ultimate protection, but no. Vaccines are vital in our fight against coronavirus, because the research is transparent that our risks are severely reduced by taking it. Our governments might not be, but the science is clear.
Many people my age who would have received their jabs in the spring or summer of this year, will be largely protected – for now. You don’t have to feel guilty for making up for lost time, seeing your friends, enjoying life again. But just remember, that you can still contract covid and therefore pass it on. You can still do simple things like wear your masks, wash your hands, and reduce extra close contact so that we can continue living as normally as possible.
It is no secret that we’re thrilled to be back out but remember that there are certain habits we need to carry with us moving forward. Do your lateral flow test. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Open the window at a indoors gathering. If you have still not taken your vaccine, take it. You took vaccines when you were 6 months old to protect you from disease and infection and the covid vaccine is no different to this. Ingrain the habits into you and take all of the preventative steps you can so that covid – even a mild case – doesn’t hit you and we can continue to be forward.