To steal from William Gibson, Italian efficiency is excellent, it’s just not evenly distributed. That was running through my mind for the very brief time it took me to get my first shot of the Astra-Zeneca Covid vaccine yesterday evening. I was predisposed, I confess, because actually booking the appoinment (for which thanks to The Main Squeeze) had also been a miracle of efficiency and good fortune.

The Red Cross volunteer on the door found my name on his clipboard, directed me to his colleague, who directed me directly to a young woman to check me in. She scanned my Tessera Sanitaria and asked me a couple of questions about allergies, other vaccinations etc. 1 Then I had to sign on a digital tablet about five times to indicate informed consent, before she handed me and my piece of paper on to another volunteer who took me to a doctor. The doctor sat me down, consulted the bit of paper, told me to bare my left arm and did the needful.

I tried to engage in a little light banter, along the lines of how many of those had she done today. About a hundred. My bit of paper joined about a hundred others in her tray, while another piece of paper and another volunteer took me to the waiting area. That was the only time I had to wait, and was an express part of the process.

The funny part was that when someone’s time was up, the volunteer called out only first names.

Luigi, he said, and three people made to stand. He had to check each of them to be sure he had the correct Luigi. I think that may be something to do with privacy laws here. In any case, my name was called and the volunteer handed me the final bit of paper, which testifies exactly when (17:47:08)2 I received exactly which dose of which batch.

As I walked to the bus stop I got an SMS with the details of my second appointment (not till June, but that’s OK) and, the cherry on the cake, a bus arrived less than a minute after I got to the stop.

All in all, a perfect experience, and absolutely no ill effects so far.

I spoke (a little) too soon, probably feeling good about having plasted through my HIIT with no problem. As the day wore on I started to feel a bit achy in the joints and mildly feverish with some soreness in my arm, starting about 18 hours after the injection. However, after a good night's sleep this morning I felt fine once again.

  1. This was a lot less thorough than the form I had to download and had, because I wanted no holdups, filled in carefully. 

  2. In fact, the time of printing the bit of paper, but who cares? 

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