International student's experience of Covid-19 vaccination

Blog for students
16 September 2021
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Claudia Yañez, one of our #WeAreInternational student ambassadors, reflects on her Covid-19 vaccination experience in Scotland as an international student:

“I’m based in Glasgow, Scotland, and after reading about the vaccines and the information provided by the Scottish government, I decided to take the vaccine.

Each nation in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) has specific guidelines regarding Covid-19 vaccination which you should read carefully and refer to for full information in your area:

I received a letter from the Scottish government stating the day and time of my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Some students may not have received a letter but were able to attend drop-in centres depending on their age range. In my case, I went to the vaccination centre I was assigned to and all the staff were very friendly with me when I arrived. At the front desk, I was asked for my name and date of birth. After that, I just waited for a couple of minutes before being directed to a table where a nurse was waiting to give me my vaccination. The nurse was also very welcoming and went through a couple of screening questions (e.g. if I had been given a vaccine in the last 6 months, if I had any allergies). She also allowed me to ask some questions about the vaccine I was getting and to note side effects I had experienced when receiving a vaccine in the past.

After I was satisfied with the information provided by the nurse, she asked me which arm I wanted the vaccine administered in. I said the left one and rolled up my sleeve. She told me that she knew exactly where to put the injection: not too low down, not too high up. I was then given the ‘Covid-19 Vaccine Important Information’ handout and leaflet with information about the vaccine. Luckily, I had no side effects but I did have a sore arm for a couple of days, it just felt a bit stiff when raising it but that soon went away.

I received my second dose of the vaccine a few weeks ago and am now fully vaccinated. I waited exactly 9 weeks to get my second dose and went to the same vaccination centre as before, which is also now a drop-in vaccination centre. Everything was well-organised and I was guided to the nurse who was patient and easy to talk to about the vaccine. She went through the same screening questions as in my first appointment which made me feel reassured about the whole process. Again I was fortunate not to have any serious symptoms after my second dose, I just had to deal with a sore arm and some tiredness that day.

Overall, I thought Covid-19 vaccination was a smooth process, and although I did not receive a letter about the second dose, I knew I could find out about local drop-in vaccination centres through the NHS 111 service. I wanted to share my vaccination experience with fellow international students, and encourage them to contact their GP or their institution if they still have any questions. ”