Britain Leads the World in Two Types of Jabbing

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by John Connor |

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I was 6 years old when British boxer Henry Cooper knocked Cassius Clay on his bottom. (It was that long ago, folks — 1963. This was before Clay’s religious conversion and consequent name change to Muhammad Ali.) Unfortunately, Clay was literally saved by the bell. I remember dashing around the front room with all the frenzied exuberance any 6-year-old would muster. I should have been in bed hours ago, but this should garner a few more minutes! But Clay’s jabs soon cut Cooper underneath the eye, and I went to bed deflated.

Both of the current world heavyweight boxing champions, Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, are from Britain. My 24-year-old son inveigled me to fork out £20 to watch Joshua’s last victorious fight in December. How the pendulum swings.

Unfortunately, I could no longer dash about the room.

Britain has also led the way in the development of another type of jab: vaccines. (However, Israel is currently leading in implementation, as it has administered more doses per 100 people than any other country in the world.) A group of researchers at Oxford University were amazingly fast in starting vaccine development once the coronavirus was sequenced and released on Jan. 11, 2020. They were using the same approach they’d used for a vaccine they’d developed in response to Middle East respiratory syndrome, caused by a similar type of coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

On Sunday, I had my first COVID-19 jab at my local doctor’s surgery. Typical that a snowstorm was supposed to hit at the same time. Luckily, we just missed it.

The United Kingdom has the third-highest rate of COVID-19 deaths in Europe and the U.K. (surpassed only by Belgium and Slovenia), but it’s leading in vaccinations. I’ve always been against Brexit, but in this case it’s proved deeply advantageous.

So, what about side effects? Aye, there’s the rub!

The vaccine knocked my sister-in-law out for a day. She works in the NHS, so she got hers before me.

I know it was Super Bowl weekend in the States, but here in the U.K., football’s (the original and still the best) Premier League held what was probably the defining match of the season. Last year’s champions, Liverpool, played Manchester City, which had won the title in the two previous seasons. It was nil-nil at halftime when I promptly fell asleep. I woke up to find that City had won 4-1! I’d missed the stonking second half.

Not the worst thing that could happen. My trigeminal neuralgia (TN) decided it was again time to go to an 11! None of my pills cut through the pain. Luckily, I still have Lidocaine patches to whack on in an emergency, and these finally quitted the beast.

A few days later, the TN is still proving to be far more active than normal. Besides falling asleep inadvertently and experiencing a slight feeling of shivers, that’s about it.

As far as I can work out, I’m about 76% protected, which will rise to about 82% after my second vaccination.

As to the variants, that is a constantly ducking and diving opponent. Until the whole world is immunized, in a way, none of us will be.

The advice to people like me with compromised immune systems is still to stay inside. During these long days, I’d actually like to go back to old-fashioned reading. But to do that, I need to see (tee-hee) an optician, which would require going out.

So, if I actually wanted to read “Catch-22” again, the Catch-22 is that there’s no way I can.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Elloise Farrow-Smith avatar

Elloise Farrow-Smith

Hi John,

I want to say a big thank you for sharing your experience.

I was looking for experiences to share with my mother and sent to her just now. We are both going for our second vaccination tomorrow (here in Australia). My mum is having a bad attack of TN - she will suffer this about 2-3 times a year and for prolonged periods.

Myself, well I live with ME/CFS (born out of a mosquito virus). I'm on a good run at the moment and just had IV Vit C and B to get ready for my vacc tomorrow. No huge effect from the first shot but I am preparing to get something with no 2 but of course totally open to getting none :) :) :)

Back to mum, it's been a huge effort to get her vaccinated in the first place (huge anxiety issues) so I want to follow through with number 2 tomorrow. Your story has been so helpful at a crucial time.
Your in gratitude and healing,


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