Packet reporter Emma Ferguson shares her experience of what it is like to get a Covid jab – and what comes after.

Despite more than 17.5 million people now having had their first one, it's not something that's been written about in detail very much: exactly what it's like to get a Covid-19 vaccination, and then the part that comes later.

But on Thursday I got the call (or rather text) to say that due to an underlying health condition now falling within the extended shielding list, I had been moved into the 'at risk' category and was eligible for a jab.

In the hope it might help remove some of the fear around receiving the vaccine, or if anyone remains on the fence over whether to take it up, this is my experience from start to finish.

Saturday: Vaccination day

I arrived at Helston Medical Centre, my local vaccination site, feeling a strange mix of emotions.

A degree of apprehension over what was to follow – would I be one of the lucky ones who breezes through the whole process and subsequent days as if nothing has happened, or would I end up feeling the full spectrum of side-effects?

A strange feeling of almost guilt that I was now suddenly receiving a jab when so many were still waiting.

And running alongside this a sense that perhaps, finally, this really was the beginning of the end to one of the strangest, most difficult years of our lives. I'm not ashamed to admit that, to be greeted by the team of volunteer marshals still smiling and welcoming, despite giving up hours of their Saturday to sit in the cold and rain, made me choke up slightly.

The atmosphere both outside and then inside could not have been more calm and relaxed, however – quite clearly the staff from the medical centre and their fellow practices of Porthleven Surgery, Meneage Street Surgery, Mullion & Constantine Group, and St Keverne Health Centre, have got the clinics down to a fine art.

After some brief health questions the vaccine was administered in seconds and I was given advice over what to expect next. A sore arm is apparently common, along with some mild flu-like symptoms, such as aching and a headache.

With many people reporting waking in the night with a temperature, it was recommended taking a couple of paracetamol before bed in anticipation, and to drink plenty of fluids.

Before I knew it I was home again, with only a slightly throbbing arm to show for it, which eased off after an hour, and I finished my day at work as normal.

I wasn't prepared for was the wave of tiredness that hit me come mid-evening, however, so expect an early night!

Sunday: The day after

I experienced a slightly feverish night of fitful sleep, in which my arm was too sore to lie on, but it was by no means as bad as, say, a night with the flu.

One thing I found was that I kept waking with a dry mouth, very thirsty, so it's definitely worth taking some water to bed with you in case.

By morning my arm was still sore, stiff and heavy, but aside from a slightly aching head I just felt a little delicate.

You might want to plan a quiet day if possible, as I did find myself feeling a little grotty as time went on, in the same way as you might feel with a flu-like cold, but two more paracetamol sorted that out and by the evening the pain in my arm had started to ease off, so that I was just left with tiredness.

Waking on Monday, I was pretty much back to normal again.

It's worth stressing that everybody reacts differently. Many find themselves having no effects at all, and some just a sore arm.

What I'm 100% sure of though is that I'd take 24 hours of minor discomfort over a week on intubation – or worse – every single time.

Receiving this vaccine is not a hardship: it's an absolute privilege.