How has COVID-19 impacted me?

By Ikelda Bani

Image: Michael Amadeus

Get Info About COVID-19 Here

‘GET BOOSTED NOW’ – those were the three words shown boldly in my notifications tab. Ah, great, I thought to myself, another COVID-19 vaccine dose as if we already haven’t had enough of hearing the words vaccination, COVID and self-isolation these past two years.

I am pro-vaccines and believe the scientific evidence for vaccines; for example, in an article assessing the differences between the COVID-19 vaccines, the Pfizer vaccine is 91.3% effective against COVID-19 based on preventing the disease after the second dose. The AstraZeneca vaccine is 85% effective in preventing COVID-19 in those older than 85. However, despite understanding the importance of vaccines and their effectiveness in achieving herd immunity, I am still so tired of COVID-19 being so rooted in our daily lives, whether it’s wearing a mandatory face mask and stressing over messages like ‘GET BOOSTED NOW’.

As a student, coronavirus has deeply impacted me in several ways, including affecting my physical, psychological, mental, and emotional state. During the first lockdown, I didn’t understand what was entirely happening. For example, I knew that COVID-19 was a deadly disease. Still, there was so much uncertainty regarding exams and the government plans for the future that I was genuinely oblivious to reality. This uncertainty was heightened by anxiety levels and made it difficult to concentrate on my studies. I guess I was always quite anxious; however, the lockdowns accentuated my anxiety and made me more introverted. After taking the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, I physically experienced side effects such as feeling weak and tired all the time as well as occasional headaches. This made me feel incompetent during my first trimester at university as I was tired and could not function to my full capacity. Nonetheless, determination and perseverance got me through the first trimester. The vaccine side effects only lasted around a week; therefore, it didn’t take too much of a toll on me during my first trimester.

Another thing that has annoyed me is the travel restrictions because I love travelling and have travelled to Albania, Macedonia, Italy, Germany, and Hungary. Now when I consider travelling and creating the holiday budget, I must consider money for COVID tests and potential living costs if I test positive and must self-isolate in a hotel, which is ridiculous because all these testing companies are doing is profiting from the pandemic. The average cost for a PCR test is £92 in the UK.

I’m not sure what the future holds for us regarding COVID-19 and vaccines- there could be up to 10 booster vaccines! There could be more virus variants, just as the Omicron variant has shown us. At this point, all I want is for life to revert to pre-COVID-19 lockdowns; however, when thinking about it now, I have developed and learned so much from these past two years that if I was to become the person I was before, I don’t think I’d be as strong-willed and determined as I am now to persevere through difficult situations. One thing is for sure, though – the government will never know what they are doing, and the Tories know how to party amidst a pandemic!

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