Had the 4th jab, now my next step

I think it is very confusing as each hospital seems different. Out of curtesy i do a lateral flow before i leave home for my appointment but i make it part of my normal monitoring process. I have found nhs hospitals more careful than private in the main but i still get concerned with crowded waiting areas and try to avoid them.
I do need an eye test but i need to find somewhere I feely happy with. Boots do not appear safe from my quick look so i will need to move to a smaller shop.


Hi Lulu, I tend to just take my temperature before I go for my blood tests and other haematology appointments. Our cancer department in Harrogate is a separate building from the main hospital and feels very safe. Recently I had a colonoscopy in the main building and as well as having a pre op covid swab had to isolate for three days and the same will apply next month when I go for my cataract operation. Periodically I take s lateral flow test if I have been in busy place for example but I can’t imagine that I would have covid without symptoms anyway.
Hope this helps and take care.

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Hi Chrissy,

Thanks for your information. As I have been shielding, have not needed to take a LF test but once I go out and about, was thinking of this a few days after I return from medical visits. I would not be going out until my next medical visit. I would not consider temperature checking, as I frequently have panic attacks where I sweat like mad, so do not know if I could get an accurate reading. (I have to keep a desk fan on, to keep me from panicing further quite often.)

I am also concerned, besides the government doing away with shielding for those with Covid, that I will not be able to tell the difference between Covid and the Flu or a Cold. I sniff all the time due to my sinusitus, besides sweating a lot.

I think I will have to play things by ear. I know with the ENT doctor, I can have the window open, but not with the MRI scans obviously. Not sure about the blood test room that I will be visiting. It is so hard making the right decision. Perhaps there is no right decision, but just the best decision one can make under the circumstances. I will stick with an FFP3 mask to give myself maximum safety.

Anyway thanks for your help and hope your cateract op goes well. Do take care.

Lulu999 x


I do agree that we all need to find our level on where we are happy to go and where we are not and what precautions we take. I think i have more anxiety about the unknown than those i do. That includes hospital appointments where things seem to change and i never know how many people will be around. I get stressed and snappy with people and I know that is wrong and spend ages apologising afterwards. I do now have some FFP3 masks and a friend I haven’t seen for 2 years has asked to meet for coffee. This will involve a short train ride which i think i need to make myself do. I need some normality back in my life so I need to push myself.
I long to have a dinner out but so far managed it once in the summer with a very understanding local restaurant. Once there i did relax so I think it is just one step at a time. I haven’t completely shielded but have limited contact to those i trust but i am hopeful that we will all be able to return to some sort of new normal in a few months time.


Dear Lulu999,
I have been taking a lateral flow test before I go to the hospital for bloods or to collect my chemo because I see some lovely nurses at the end of a long career in the nhs who I worry about. I have started my mot tests with dentists, haircut and hearing aid appointments. The problem was that hours after my visit to the opticians visit I felt unwell at the same time as my husband got an email to say that Covid was running through our golf club. We had seen people outdoors but even so I was positive for Covid. I then had the sad task of informing the opticians that I had tested positive. They are all young and after checking with them, one week later, I had not passed it onto them. I was so relieved. I also wondered if there was a ‘You gave us Covid surcharge’ to my already huge bill for new glasses. All was well - no surcharge but it made me so aware that whilst I was vulnerable that I did not know about their vulnerabilities of their family, grandparents etc so I will test whilst I can.
When I was a teacher of children with Special Needs of all kinds I used to give them a tube of Smarties before their public exams with a label saying ‘brave pills to be taken before exams so that you can show the world what you really know’. They knew they were not real but the smile/ smirk they gave me reduced anxiety anyway. I think we all need a tube of brave pills right now. The world should not be so scary but it is. We do have the advantage that with the help of our special charity and others that recognition of our situation is the best it has been since March 2019.
I also used a programme called Toe by toe for children who had not mastered reading. If was a different approach of reading nonsense words which went very, very, very slowly so that children could not guess read but had to rely on sounds. It seems as if we must do the same and go toe by toe back into the world. Tell us about your successes as you edge back in and remember you can do this at your own pace. Toe by tie if you need or step by step if you can.


Hi @GrandmaJo what a shock testing positive for Covid, I hope you are both feeling OK now.
I would hate to think that I had passed Covid on to others, that certainly is a new angle.
Please can I have a giant (Smarties) tube of ‘brave pills’.
Your toe by toe is like dipping your toe into the water, I think I will go step by step on my tippy toes, thank you!!!

Hi @Chrispy anxiety can make us do out of character things.
You certainly have a lovely incentive to venture out to meet your special friend.
Perhaps we all need some of @GrandmaJo’s ‘brave (Smarties) pills’
Look after myself

Hi GrandmaJo,

What a sad unfortunate story you tell.

I have not been anywhere. My husband has had bi-monthly blood tests and is taken to and from the hospital by ambulance and that was his only visit from home. He always has been wearing a regular blue masks in the ambulance and the hospital, which were the rules.

I have not been anywhere and feel ok, as does my husband. When we have had to have visitors to fix things, I open up the window as well as being masked, before anybody comes into our home.

Have just waited for Omicron to subside before I start my first appointment, next week, for a blood test. (A few days later he has his blood test at the hospital, after I have mine downstairs my surgery.) Hopefully, I should be ok but between that and my second medical appointment, but will do a lateral flow test, to make sure I am ok. Will be wearing PPF3 masks for all appointments as well. Hopefully with Omicron on the wain, this will help. (You do not mention how long ago all this happened to you.) I am also asking that windows be opened before I go into a room if possible, although it cannot be when I have my two MRI scans.

I tend to look at the PPF3 mask as my “shield”, so to speak to protect me and can only hope it will. When I will be having a volunteer drive me to some of my appointments, will ask that his car is deep cleaned, which he has agreed to do and that he drives with the window open. This is about as prepared as I can be.

I have been cutting my hair and my husband’s hair, but only in the last two summers did I ask my hairdresser to visit us in our communal garden to cut our hair. All parties concerned were masked and I will continue this, as much as I would like to visit my hairdresser and have highlights put into my hair.

Thanks for your info and stay safe and well.

Lulu999 x

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Hi @Lulu999 . Have you tried talking to your hairdresser? Mine comes to me and is very considerate with tests and masks but i know in the salon she works they have vulnerable customers and take all the precautions they can. They may be able to find a quiet time and place for you.


Hi Crispy,

Thanks for your suggestion, but I would prefer that the hairdresser visits us. I could not have my hair washed or highlighted - after highlights are put in, they are eventually washed out. This would be because my mask would get soaked and I would lose protection.

Unless we are free of the virus, by some miracle, I will stick to my present routine, however awkward it is. Thanks.

Take care and stay safe. x

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You say you had your second shingles vax ??? my haematologist has told me , as I am immunosuppressed, I should never have it, as it is a live vaccine
as it’s your second, I assume you have had no adverse affects???
I’ll add it to my list to re-confirm that I shouldn’t have it, at my next appointment,
I wonder if this is just another thing that one consultant says one thing, and another says something else?

edited to add
… just looked it up, it looks like that one is an inactive one, and fairly new - so it will definitely go on my list of things to ask my consultant about,
Thank you for letting us know, or I could have missed this altogether!


Hi Heather,

I remember my GP or a surgery nurse offering me a shingles vax some years ago before Covid. I looked things up online but in the end, I contacted my Haemotology Nurse. She said that it was not worth the hassle, as one can have a bad reaction to it. Therefore I told the surgery I declined their offer. (I did not even know if I was immunosuppressed or not and still do not know this.)

I am not suggesting you do or do not have this vax. Just do some research and feel comfortable with this. Speaking to your Consultant is definitely a good way to go.

Again medical advice can differ from Conultant to Consultant and Doctor to Doctor, I suppose, depending on your individual health situation. For example, my friend was surprised that I fast before taking a cholestol test but not for a blood sugar test for pre-diabetes. She says her GP said to fast when she gets her diabetes blood test checked.

Take care and stay safe.


Yes @heatherthomas, I have had this new inactive one, Shingrix, and yes, I believe you do need 2 vaccinations, mine were 2 months apart. I qualified on 2 counts - my Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and my age, 72 yrs, but I do not know if it is being given to younger age groups.
I was the first person to have in in my surgery and I had to discuss my eligibility with a GP first. It then had to be ordered in especially and I had an audience as it turned into a GP nurses training session !!

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Thank you Erica, I am 68, so not at the age qualification yet, but looking at the guidance, it can be given younger, but the criteria is not clear - basically just if your doctor thinks you need it, and you are also immunosuppressed - it talks about scarcity of the vaccination.
My next consultation isn’t for another 2.5 months, so I will ask then.

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The old shingles vaccine (zostavax) is a live vaccine but the new one (shingrix) is not. Shingrix is ok in the immunocompromised. I’m a lymphoma patient and had the Shingrix vaccine and two months later its booster without any problems.


Hi Erica,

I saw yours and Trevor’s notification about Shingrix. A few years ago I was offered its predecessor and was told it was more bother than it was worth by my former and dreadful Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) support nurse. I note what Trevor, another Forum user said, so contacted a different support nurse that said I should go ahead with it now. (I am 73.)


I also went to get my three blood tests last Wednesday, which was stressful for me. Most people in the waiting room were masked but not all and I did ask for the window to be opened in the actual blood test room. Afterwards I went into a local bakery nearby to have a treat and was shocked that the staff and some customers were not masked. (I had my FPP3 mask on.) My test results were given to me and all is reasonably well.

On Wednesday is my next medical appointment - ENT Consultant. Must take off my mask so Consultant can look up my nose. (Have had terrible problems with my sinusitus since finishing nasal spray last week with little sleep due to choking.) I have found out that all staff AND PATIENTS must be masked thankfully and they usually change masks on arrival to the bog-standard blue masks. I have requested that because of my condition, I remain in my FPP3 mask, besides not sitting in the waiting room, but standing out in the street entrance until I am called. (It is a small hospital.) Again, I will ask that the window in the Consultant’s office be opened for me. Am still very stressed and highly nervous about this and my MRI scan appointments and now there is the Shingrix to add to my list of appointments.

Still it all beats the alternative and will carry on with these appointments until the next lot of Covid comes along.

Stay well and take care,


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Hi @Lulu999 personally, and this is personally, I had absolutely no side effects from either of my Shingrix vaccines.
I had an appointment for the reoccurring skin cancer on my head and I also decided to treat myself as I had a free hot drink from a national coffee chain which is in the hospital. It was well organised and felt safe so I had a hot chocolate and piece of millionaires cheesecake and ate it outside.
I am also wondering about making a dental appointment as I broke a tooth nearly 2 yrs ago and yes, obviously I will have to take my mask off.
I am honestly coming round to the thinking that the world is not going adapt to us, but we have to adapt to the world as safely as we can.
Also as someone else said we have antivirals in place in case the were to contract Covid.
I think my mental health needs are that I really need to get out of these 4 walls, get jobs done in our flat and to to get out into society. I know it sounds scary, but I feel I have to do it. I will do it as safely as possible though. That is again a very personal opinion.
You stay safe and look after yourself.

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Thanks Erica. I feel the same as you do about having to adjust, but my husband is not at that stage. I am just feeling so overwhelmed at present. At least no side affects is a good point for me. However, will try and manage with my PPF3 mask. At least my husband will try eating outside a local restaurant when it is warmer, so that is a step in the right direction!

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@Lulu999 you show so well that we are all individual and each feel comfortable with different things at different times…
Yes, it is all so overwhelming.
Be kind to yourselves.