With over 10 million Covid-19 vaccinations rolled out across the UK we feel a sense of hope for our Wedding Industry and for the 2021 couples waiting to hear when and how their wedding day will take place. But this cannot happen without the suppliers and venues who bring all of their dreams together. As the majority of wedding professionals are well under the age limit of the priority groups, for the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, it was great to hear from some who have had the opportunity to receive their vaccinations early.
We spoke to photographer Daniel Ackerley, 39, from Cambridge.
A full time photographer Daniel has managed to work on a few small weddings of around 2 to 3 hours maximum in 2020 (under the guidelines and restrictions). His next wedding is scheduled for April 2021. Like most, due to the smaller weddings, refunds for cancelled weddings and postponed income due to date moves and postponements earnings are greatly reduced.
At 39, and not top of the Vaccination Priority list, he would have been one of the last to receive the call. So to explain why and how he came to have the Astra Zeneca early Daniel explained; “I was able to get a dose due to the NHS not wanting to waste any during the vaccination programme at the care home my wife works in. They had vials that needed to be used within 30 minutes and they had open more then they needed due to the nature of the delivery method. They asked if I would like it and so that it wasn’t just thrown away I agreed to have the vaccine”. “The process was very organised, professional and fast.”
When we asked about the side effects Daniel told us he had “Mild nausea, headache, sore arm and aching joints. All gone within 24 hours though.” Daniel’s advice for anyone thinking twice about the vaccine; “The fastest way for us to get out of this and return to some normality is to get protected and reduce the risks. The best way to do that right now, under these circumstances, is vaccination.”
Juliet Cunnigham, 50, freelance bridal makeup artist based in Bedfordshire.
We asked if Juliet had been able to work during the pandemic, she told us;” I had to shield until the 31st of July 2020. I had cancer 12 years ago, heart surgery 14 years ago and am asthmatic so I’m classed as clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid-19. I couldn’t have worked even if I wanted to!”
With a few bursts of work, out of lockdown, in September, October and 14 days before the lockdown on 18th December, Juliet is back in shielding again. Like most wedding businesses, Juliet’s weddings were dramatically reduced to 17 from 90 weddings in 2020.
To give back, Juliet has been volunteering for the cancer charity Look Good Feel Better UK for 8 years. During the pandemic she has run online skincare and makeup workshops for ladies going through cancer treatment.
On Sunday 24th January Juliet had the Astra Zeneca vaccine, the process was “Incredibly organised”. “The evening of the vaccine I felt shivery and had a sore arm. The following day I felt washed out and fluey and my arm was still sore that lasted 5 days.”
Juliet made it clear that others should; “Take it when you’re offered! Let’s get back to normal as soon as possible!”
Joanne Cox, 35, a Venue Stylist from Cambridge.
At 35 Joanne Cox would not expect to be receiving her call for the vaccination until much later in the year. A part time venue stylist, Joanne left her NHS A&E job after 14 years to find a work life balance and is now an NHS practice nurse.
With only 2 weddings since March 2020, with the maximum of 30 guests, most of her bookings have rebooked for this year (2021) or next (2022).
As a nurse and front line worker, Joanne was able to have the Pfizer vaccine in January 2020. The surgery she works from is a Covid vaccine programme practice which also meant it was a quick and easy process.
Joanne was concerned she might be unwell following the vaccine but told us the only side effect was “a sore heavy arm for 24 hours.” We understand that some can feel unsure or uncomfortable about having the vaccination, Joanne also suggests you do;
“I would definitely encourage people to get the vaccine. If we want to get some sort of normality back we all have to play our part.”
Laura, 52, is Manager for Kingfisher Caterers and has an Event Management company.
Through her business she looks after 60 front of hour staff. Laura has not be able to work since March 2020. We asked how it has affected her business “I’ve been keeping up with venues and clients with hopefully revisiting their plans once this nightmare is over! My next wedding is on Saturday April 24th, fingers crossed!”
Recently Laura has retrained as a care worker and is a volunteer for Air Ambulance. She has completed qualifications in advanced First Aid, CPR and Vaccination. “I am just waiting to start helping at a vaccination centre near me.” Laura explained.
As a Care worker Laura works with shielding clients and is in close contact with them and for that reason was offered the Astra Zeneca vaccination, on Saturday 30th January she travelled from her home in Hertfordshire to Bedfordshire.
The process was “Very organised, I was so impressed with everyone working at Stevenage, it was awful weather and so many were just volunteers.” Laura also had similar side effects of a heavy aching arm for 48 hours only.
We asked Laura what she would say to others, who are offered the vaccine, she replied; “Have it!”
If you would like to know where you are on the list and more about the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme– take a look at the Gov.org website HERE
Please be aware there are currently a small number of Covid-19 vaccine scams, the only legitimate place to have the vaccine is via the NHS – if you are unsure of any communication you receive – text, phone calls, emails, flyers, letters or messages, please check with your GP. You can look HERE for more information