What to expect at the Covid Vaccination Centre

I had my first Covid vaccination yesterday and I think one of the things that worried me beforehand was the unknown. I like to know what’s ahead of me so I can mentally prepare so I thought I’d write a post that might help others. This is about the Sligo centre so it might be a bit different in other centres.

They were calling for those between the ages of 50-59 to register on the portal, which sounds like Star Trek but it was very simple. To register online you need your phone number, email address, Eircode, and PPS number. You can register here. There’s a helpline if you have difficulty.

I was only registered for a few days when I got a text telling me about my appointment (which was the following day). The text also tells you what vaccine you will be getting, I got Moderna – the text also has a link so you can read more about the vaccine. In Sligo the vaccination centre is in the Knocknarea Area at the IT Sligo, they request that you only arrive five minutes before your appointment.

Wear your mask as you arrive to the centre because you’ll be asked a few questions by staff before you get into the carpark. They just ask what time your appointment is and if you have everything you need, which is your photo ID, phone, mask, and they’ll ask if you are well. You are told what area to park in and instructed to wait in the car until a person with a megaphone comes out to call your time.

We were waiting in the car for around 20 minutes as they were running late. When my time was called I had to queue outside the arena, there’s a marquee so you’ll be dry (apart from just before you get into the centre), there’s also a wheelchair which is handy to know if you have someone not physically able to stand.

There’s a security guard on the door and only 4 people are allowed in at a time, as you go in there’s an information leaflet about your injection, by the way if you need the toilet just ask. A nice army guy pointed me in the right direction and then let me back into the queue.

As you go into the hall there are four reception desks, they’ll ask your name, PPS number, etc. and you queue again. In front of you you’ll see numbered cubicles, as you get to your turn the steward will tell you what number to go into. I had a lovely lady, she went through my details again and then a list of questions about medical history: had I had the virus recently, had I had another vaccine recently, did I have a bleeding disorder (that was a tricky one because I do), did I have an allergy to any of the ingredients in the vaccine, or did I have any allergy (I do to kiwi fruit and previously went into anaphylactic shock). Anyway it was deemed I was OK to have the vaccine and in it went. It was a little pinch but it didn’t hurt (nothing like the B12 injections). You are given a leaflet with common side effects and your card that has your name and vaccine number on it, you’ll need this for part 2. With Moderna that’s in around 4 weeks.

After the injection everyone is asked to wait for 15 minutes, you sit at the end of the hall. I had to wait for 30 minutes because of the precious allergic reaction and one of the staff was keeping an eye on me, I was grand. All the staff are really lovely, very friendly and helpful and very reassuring. When your time is up you can leave. In total I was there for an hour and a half from start to finish.

During the day I was drinking plenty of water and I also took paracetamol before and Ibuprofen afterwards, just in case. My arm hurts a bit but apart from that I’m mighty. Best of luck if you are going for yours, honestly it’s fine. Just to add about the badge because I’ve been asked about it, there are some in a little kidney bowl on a chair to the right as you head to exit but I saw a bag full while I was in the recovery section and asked for one (yes I’m really 12 inside).

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