Opinion: This is how catching Covid feels when you're double vaccinated, writes MK Citizen reporter
The virus floored an entire household within days - despite the jabs
With my second AstraZeneca vaccine administered weeks ago, I was one of the multitude of people smugly believing I was protected from the dreaded virus.
So, after months of being deprived of seeing my newest baby grandson, I had no qualms about setting off to London more than a week ago to help my daughter and son-in-law unpack after a house move.
My first words to my double-jabbed son-in-law as he opened the door, were: "At last I can give you a great big hug!"
Just how ironic those words were became apparent just hours later when my son-in-law suddenly started feeling groggy and uncharacteristically had to go and lie down.
We took his temperature - high - and decided to do a lateral flow Covid test "just to be on the safe side". Squinting at the faintest of faint lines, we decided it must be an evaporation line.
How could it be Covid? He'd had both vaccines, he'd been careful...Surely it was just the start of a cold or the stress from moving?
Luckily we decided to self-isolate anyway and cracked on with the unpacking. But, less than 24 hours later, as I was due to leave for home, my son-in-law did a second test - and this time the line came up with the strongest of strong positives within seconds.
Resigned to self-isolation, for two days my daughter and I juggled the baby and a plethora of packing cases while nursing the invalid, who was barely capable of leaving his bed. Despite intensive mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing, on the third day I noticed my daughter, also double jabbed, was looking flushed and sneezing. A test showed she too was positive.
Within hours she was the same as her husband - suffering from a fever, an aching head, sore throat, aching joints, a cough and fatigue so great that it was almost impossible to move at times.
"I'll be fine," I thought.
"I can work from here and look after the baby."
Just 24 hours later it was my turn. Again, after a squinter of a lateral flow test line one day, there was a strong positive hours later.
The only way I can describe it is a nasty flu, combined with horrible joint pain and the tiredness of several consecutive sleepless nights. By now the baby had a temperature and was off his food. Reluctant to do an invasive test on such a young baby, we could only assume that he too had caught it.
Bizarrely, all of us totally lost our sense of smell and taste within hours of testing positive. We had to resort to peering inelegantly down the baby's nappy every so often to decide whether he needed changing. Literally, we could smell nothing at all - and still can't. Everything tastes like cardboard and even a line-up of the hottest of hot chili oils still renders food tasteless (well, you have to do something to fill the boredom).
For days we were all pretty incapacitated, passing the baby between us to whoever felt strong enough to care for him for an hour or two. Countless times a day, one of us would utter: "If this is Covid after two jabs, God knows what it's like without the vaccine".
The only good thing was that none of us suffered significant breathlessness, but research shows this can be way down the list with the Delta variant, which we undoubtedly had.
As the hours and sleepless, fever-filled nights ticked by, more and more stories came to light in the media about people catching the virus despite being vaccinated.
Britons double-jabbed with the AstraZeneca vaccine may be three times more likely to get symptoms of the virus than those who got Pfizer and Moderna, reported the Mail Online, who based their report on SAGE figures.
"Scientists at Imperial College London estimate two doses of AstraZeneca's jab is 55 per cent effective at blocking symptoms of the Indian 'Delta' variant," they said.
Effectively, that means its 45 per cent ineffective. Though, in this household, it was most certainly 100 per cent.
The efficacy figure for two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna is thought to be in the region of 85 per cent, according to the scientists. Interestingly, my Pfizer-jabbed husband , who dropped me off in London and said brief hellos before returning home, has shown no symptoms at all.
By Saturday the dreaded double jab Covid had also struck health secretary Sajid Javid, who said he was suffering very mild symptoms and "feeling groggy".
Sorry Sajid, but my experience was feeling more than groggy. It was feeling pretty grim actually. A week on, we're only just starting to feel better again in this household and we're still nowhere near back to normal.
But the fact is that none of us was ill enough to need hospital treatment. Our symptoms could be managed with Paracetamol, rest, sore throat and cough medication and a dash of chili oil. And my gorgeous little grandson, fortunately, is now fine and attempting to take over my keyboard as I type here in my self-isolated London bubble.
While the vaccines didn't prevent us adults catching Covid and spreading it between us alarmingly rapidly, they DID reduce the symptoms and possibly the length of the illness.
So, to anybody out there who is not yet jabbed, I would urge them to please have the vaccine. And to every double jabbed person who believes they are fully protected and can embrace Freedom Day with open arms and mask-less faces, I would advise them to be just a little bit careful.