12-year-old Siddharth Menon takes his first COVID-19 vaccine dose. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Taking the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine turned out to be a happy experience for 12-year-old Siddharth Menon. The perky, micro blogging, preteen from grade 8 of Gems Modern Academy loves Mathematics and History and wants to be a career diplomat when he grows up. Soon after his first vaccination dose, Siddharth immediately tweeted about the experience, tagging a whole lot of people.

A cheerful post-vaccination tweet

In the tweet, Siddharth — displaying wisdom and eloquence far beyond his age — recently uploaded his photograph getting vaccinated, saying: “Had to miss the class for this one. Luckily I missed only one because of the vaccination drive at this centre was so well-organised! Thank You UAE! We are privileged indeed!”

‘I was very afraid of needles’

What was not mentioned in the tweet, however, was the fact that Siddharth was afraid of needles but managed to overcome the fear. Sharing this story with Gulf News, Siddarth hoped his experience would help allay similar fears in others too. “For many days, I could not get my head off the thought that I would willingly submit to an injection. The school authorities had told us that we would have to take the vaccine. I am afraid of needles and was very nervous. However, I went ahead and took the appointment at the designated Dubai Health Authority (DHA) Centre in Al Twar, near my home.

“My throat was dry and I felt a bit agitated in anticipation of the sharp jab. However, as soon as I entered the centre and was greeted by a very cheerful health-care professional who got my name registered, I felt better. The centre was very well-organised. The room where I was to receive the vaccination was very cosy and the nurse very friendly. As I sat on the chair, she made me laugh. I felt completely at ease.”

‘Happy thoughts calmed me’

Siddharth said: “She took my blood pressure, which was normal as I had already begun deep breathing and was thinking about happy memories — like my happiest birthday, the time I had my favourite meal and the happy memories of a family outing. I thought of my grandparents with whom I have spent many a happy summer and am longing to meet them again. I did not feel any pain as I received the jab. It was over so soon. I feel very happy that I took this decision.”

NAT TWEET PIC-1623506245291
Siddharth's social media post after receiving his first COVID-19 vaccine dose. Image Credit: Screengrab

Siddharth added: “I experienced a slight stiffness in the area of the jab, but that subsided quickly. It was certainly worth taking a holiday from school. I am looking forward to my next dose on June 23. That will provide me immunity and a chance of attending regular school from September.”

‘Be safe and keep the community safe’

“I want to tell all other 12-year-olds, not be afraid of the injection. It is easy to deflect the pain by thinking of a happy memory and relaxing. Just a second of discomfort can keep you safe and protected from this terrible virus and that is worth the trouble definitely. We are blessed to be in the UAE, where the authorities have taken all the necessary precautions to protect people of all ages from the pandemic. It is our responsibility now to go ahead and make sure we all are safe. All of us must play our part so that we can win together this battle.”