Monday, 25 October 2021
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

In the fight “Mark vs the Needle,” the needle wins every time

Written by  Jan 23, 2021

How do you fancy getting jabbed in the arm with a sharp needle? Well a sharp needle is probably better than a blunt one I guess. If we are to believe the headlines, then we’ll all have been jabbed by the summer.

Yes, the Covid-19 vaccination is in full swing, and I for one can’t wait to be injected. And that is a strange sentence from my mouth. I have an extraordinary fear of needles.

From my first steps on this planet the very sight of a needle sent me running in the opposite direction. I know, I know, it’s all in the mind and it doesn’t really hurt, but my mind is much stronger than the rest of my body. I have passed out in the vicinity of a needle more than a boxer facing Tyson.

A few years ago I had an injection, no in fact I was giving blood for some test. “Who brought this English man here to give blood,” shouted the nurse to the reception area of the hospital. “Because he’s fallen like a leaf from an autumn tree to the floor,” she added bringing a general cheer of approval to all those waiting. Yes, in the fight “Mark vs the Needle,” the needle had won again. I was indeed lying across three chairs as white as snowy day in Plitvice. To add to the tragedy a few days after that I repeated the same fainting act in a private clinic in Dubrovnik. So do I fancy getting a jab, well no not really, but I will.

So first went the people most at risk, then the front line workers and finally in this first wave the politicians. And the absolute star was Minister Maric, or Captain Croatia as he is now known. Whilst most of us sign up for a gym membership, go a couple of times, and then convince ourselves that we’ll go tomorrow, (but of course tomorrow never comes) Maric must be living in a gym. With his Popeye biceps and pecs like he’d just wrestled Thanos it was no surprise that the social media nicknamed him Captain Croatia, due to his resemblance to Captain Croatia.

“Croatian Minister of Finance gets vaccinated and steals the show with a figure-hugging T-shirt,” was the headline of a story I wrote and it got over 13,000 views.

A few of our local politicians took the same route with a tight T-shirt but let’s just say that they probably spend the same amount of time in the gym as I do.

My motherland is going full steam ahead with vaccine program. More than 4 million people have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK, surpassing the number who have tested positive for the virus. And they are not stopping with vaccine centres running 24 hours a day. It would seem that they have more than enough vaccine but not enough space to actually conduct vaccinations. Which is probably better than the other way around?




Vaccination centres have opened in rugby clubs, horse race course and even in one cathedral. They are on target to vaccinate 15 million people by the middle of February, that is some impressive organisation. In fact, the UK is in third place as the country that has given out the most vaccines per 100,00 inhabitants, only the United Arab Emirates and in first place Israel are most efficient.

And everyone is getting a form of Covid-19 passport. For as we all know there will be some positive discrimination with the vaccine. It won’t be obligatory, but in reality it will be. Talk of a “green passport” is an obvious intro into a world where if you want to leave your country then you’re going to have to have proof that you’ve been jabbed.

Some airlines have already announced that they will only accept passengers with the green passport. There will of course be conspiracy theories, there always are, and there will be sceptics, again there always are, but if the majority of us get punctured then the “tin foil hat” brigade can continue bleating, while the rest of us can travel. I can’t bloody wait to be able to travel, to see my family in the UK and to go on holiday with my wife.

And if the price of that is fainting in a doctor’s surgery after being jabbed than that’s a price I am happy to pay. So if you sitting in a waiting room and hear “Who brought the Englishman here,” you’ll know why you’ll have to wait a little longer to get vaccinated. Sorry, in advance. 

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