My name is Danny Boxer and I was diagnosed with common variable immune deficiency (CVID) in 1987.

I had several chest infections during as an adolescent and was finally thoroughly investigated by a chest physician, who made the diagnosis of CVID when I was in my early thirties.

Primary immunodeficiencies were not widely recognised at the time of my diagnosis and I was initially looked after at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London. Clinicians there started me on immunoglobulin replacement therapy, and it was only later that I came under the care of an immunologist.

Throughout the pandemic, I have been fortunate in having the companionship of my wonderful wife, adequate space and a garden. We are empty-nesters, so the biggest hardship has been isolation from our family. We have five grandchildren, two of whom were born during lockdown in 2020. Not being able to interact with them properly, as well as our elderly parents, has been horrible.

I work as a consultant radiologist. Owing to shielding I have not been able to work on site. During the summer, I received suitable IT, which enables me to work from home. However, I miss interacting with patients and colleagues. I have noticed that my general health has been better than usual, so shielding does have some advantages.

As a doctor I have been following the progress of the COVID vaccine. I had my vaccine in the first week of January, through my hospital. I was a bit nervous about going to a hospital. As it was the first day of the vaccination programme for the site, I was queuing longer than I would have liked to be around other healthcare workers, but it was OK in the end. 

The vaccination itself was fine; just like receiving a flu vaccine. I developed a painful arm at night, which lasted for 24 hours and got better with paracetamol.

Since my vaccine, I have been working and getting some exercise. I continue to miss my family and friends; I’m not a great fan of Zoom socials! I am disappointed that my wife has not been offered the vaccine and I do feel our ‘bubbles’ should be a priority.

If you are waiting for your vaccine, follow the advice given to stay safe and don’t be too proud to ask for help. Take your vitamin D and get obsessive about hand washing!

PID UK has helped me because it’s nice to feel part of a community. They are also helpful in providing academic information that gives a balanced view.

Posted 25th January 2021