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An invitation to a vaccine



The sky brought in a cargo of cool light and the crowd huddled together. They didn’t know what to do or where to stand so they formed a rough queue which curled out from the main body of people like a tongue. No-one knew how long they’d be there so they resigned themselves to waiting and pushed their invitation letters deep into their pockets. A delicious uncertainty hung in the air and once in a while an official, wearing a bright green vest, wandered over to them, but she couldn’t help, she didn’t have any answers.

Some of the group decided to leave, frustrated and impatient, whilst others hung on, deciding it was best to wait for an announcement. At one point, thirty or forty of them were called out and told to go home, it wasn’t clear why, but they should never have been there and rumours circulated that the rules had changed.

Some held onto their tickets, sure that something would happen, others eventually mumbled their excuses and left. As their numbers slimmed down, the hopes of those remaining went up.

Again there was an announcement, burbled from one of the tannoys: ‘Could you all please go home and try again tomorrow. We have run out of vaccine.’ 

The government planners had once again irrigated the smallest gestures of their lives and in the grey uncertain light the derelict crowd headed home.

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen.