Britain Leads the World in Two Types of Jabbing
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.
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