DRAW the dose up into a syringe, expose the upper arm, administer the jab: it takes a few seconds to give someone a COVID-19 vaccination.

But securing a dose in the first place, and getting in front of a nurse with a needle and a freezer full of vaccines, varies widely depending on where you live and what you do for a living.

In Britain, a global frontrunner in the vaccination race, registering online for the jab has been no more complicated than booking a dentist appointment, while in India, where COVID-19 cases are surging, some people have roamed city hospitals for days in search of a spare dose.

With millions of people around the world being immunised, what impact could differing experiences have on global efforts to reach herd immunity?

The Thomson Reuters Foundation asked five people on three continents how and why they got a coronavirus vaccine and what they learned from the experience.

Margaret Oruko, 62, midwife, Nairobi, Kenya

‘We hear reports of people paying bribes at vaccination centres in order to jump the queues’

Margaret Oruko poses for a picture at her home in Kawangware, Nairobi, Kenya on April 15, 2021. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Nita Bhalla

I’m a midwife and live in an informal settlement called Kawangware in Nairobi. Because of my age, the nature of my work and the fact that I live in an overcrowded area where it is difficult to social distance, I’ve been very anxious to get the vaccine.

I work part-time in a private maternity hospital and also have patients from the community visiting my house daily for check-ups. It makes me very scared being exposed to so many people, yet not having any protection.

The government started giving the vaccine to people in March – and being over 58 and a health worker, I thought I would be notified by authorities to come for the vaccine.

But there’s been a lot of confusion about who it’s for and where to get it.

Neighbours told me about some hospitals but said there were long queues where people are waiting the whole day, so I’d been putting off going as I might catch the virus while waiting.

We have also heard of reports of people in some places paying bribes at vaccination centres in order to jump the queues – it made me think that I won’t be treated fairly if I go there.

Margaret Oruko poses for a picture at her home in Kawangware, Nairobi, Kenya on April 15, 2021. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Nita Bhalla

Some people in the community are scared of the links between vaccines and rare blood clots, but as a health worker I believe in science and think the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being offered in Kenya, is safe.

After weeks of wondering what to do, I approached the chief in my area and he sent my name to the authorities and directed me to Kenyatta Hospital.

I arrived there are 8 o’clock in the morning and there was already a small queue of about 15 people forming. Surprisingly, I didn’t have to wait too long. After about 30 minutes, I was called into the room and given the jab.

I do feel relieved to have got the first shot – I just hope that the second shot will be available in time.

Stella Franceskides, 63, filmmaker, London, UK

‘I’ve very aware that minority communities are bearing the brunt of the pandemic.’

British filmmaker Stella Franceskides with her mother (middle) and aunt (right) in front of the Byzantine Church of Assinnou in Cyprus, October 2, 2020 in this handout photo courtesy of Stella Franceskides via Thomson Reuters Foundation

The main reason I got vaccinated was so I could visit my mother who lives in Cyprus. It’s her 99th birthday this month.

With two doses I’ll be able to travel and see her without COVID-19 tests or having to quarantine.

I’ve recently spent 400 pounds ($555) getting tests to visit her. I’ve no idea who could afford to do that on a regular basis. Only very wealthy people, I guess.

I was reluctant to get the vaccine at first (I don’t believe any of the conspiracy theories, I’ve just never bothered with them in the past).

While I was looking into getting inoculated, the news emerged about the risks of blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

I know the risks are tiny but for me it was still concerning: the idea you could have a vaccine and die from the side-effects.

My doctor said: “You should have it, there are more pros than cons.”

When I arrived at the Tessa Jowell Center, a newly opened health facility in South London, there were masses of volunteers running the operation.

A person waits to get the coronavirus vaccine as a health worker prepares an injection with a dose, at a vaccination centre in Westfield Stratford City shopping centre, amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London, Britain, February 18, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

An elderly man directed me towards the nurses. He was so polite, it felt like he was hosting an event that he was proud of. He patiently repeated the same instructions to each person who came in.

One nurse asked me questions while the other put the needle in my arm. The whole thing was very efficient. I was in and out in less than 20 minutes.

If I’d had the choice, I would have got the Pfizer vaccine but it wasn’t available.

My next jab is at the end of May.

I’m very aware that minority communities are bearing the brunt of the pandemic and I’m frustrated with the British government. They spent billions on a COVID-19 track and trace system that went nowhere.

Sachin Ratnaparkhi, 55, researcher, Mumbai, India

‘I covered 35km (21 miles), five vaccination centres over three hours for the vaccine’

People stand outside the gate of a vaccination centre after hearing news of shortage of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine supplies, in Mumbai, India, April 9, 2021. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

I had been planning to get the vaccine since April 1 when the government opened it up for those aged over 45 years.

Last week restrictions were imposed again in Mumbai and I was back to working from home and decided to take time out to get the shot.

When I logged onto the government’s contact-tracing app to book an appointment for my vaccination, it didn’t throw up any available centres.

So my wife and I set out on my motorcycle to a nearby hospital where they were giving out vaccines on a first-come first-serve basis.

We went in the afternoon, hoping to avoid the morning rush, only to find a “vaccines out of stock” notice displayed at the hospital.

A notice about the shortage of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine supplies is seen at a vaccination centre, in Mumbai, India, April 8, 2021. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

Health officials directed us to a mass vaccination centre about 8km (five miles) away.

We drove there only to find the vaccine was out of stock but we were determined to get inoculated.

There is so much vaccine hesitancy here and people are being misled by posts on social media about its side-effects.

I know the vaccine may not give me full immunity, but the chances of fatality are much lower after vaccination.

I was determined to get the shot for my own safety and I wanted to start building resistance to the virus.

We decided to try another mass vaccination centre about 15km (nine miles) away. When we reached it, there was a crowd outside arguing with security guards. No vaccines there, either.

On our way back home, I stopped at two private hospitals to check if we could get inoculated, but had no luck.

In the scorching Mumbai heat, my wife and I covered 35 km (21 miles) and five vaccination centres over three hours.

I returned to the municipal hospital on Monday and this time fortunately both me and my wife got the shot. It wasn’t crowded and it took about an hour-and-a-half to register and get vaccinated, followed by 30 minutes of staying under observation.

Sachin Ratnaparkhi poses for a picture while getting his first dose of the Covishield vaccine (AstraZeneca) at a municipal hospital on April 12 in Mumbai, India in this handout photo courtesy of Sachin Ratnaparkhi via Thomson Reuters Foundation

I am not angry or upset with the system.

Our country is so vast that, however good a system is, it may fall short.

While it is easy to criticise, I do not have any complaints.

Amos Mawoyo, 64, retired teacher, Mutare, Zimbabwe

‘There have been issues of some rogue health authorities in the country making money through selling vaccination cards’

Amos Mawoyo, 64, a retired teacher at his homestead in Dangamvura, Mutare (Farai Shawn Matiashe/Thomson Reuters Foundation, 14 April 2021).

When the Chinese Sinovac vaccines were rolled out to the masses a few weeks ago, I was sceptical about the side-effects of the jab as we had little information in both urban and rural areas.

My fears were that I would fall ill after being vaccinated.

But my brother convinced me to get inoculated, saying the risk of not vaccinating far outweighed the known risks of doing so.

My brother, his wife and I woke up early in the morning around 6.30 a.m. to trek to a clinic in Dangamvura, one of the high-density suburbs in Mutare, which is Zimbabwe’s third-largest city.

Upon arrival, I was surprised to see a short queue.

People queue to receive the Sinopharm coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at Wilkins Hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe, March 24, 2021. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

There were only about 10 adults, almost all my age. The vaccination took a bit of time mainly due to logistical problems. They told us they had run out of vaccination cards.

There have been issues of some rogue health authorities in the country making money through selling these vaccination cards so the cards are now a security issue and are not kept in huge numbers at clinics.

After getting inoculated with my first dose of the Sinovac vaccine I was asked to wait to rest for 30 minutes before returning home.

The uptake at the clinic was surprisingly low and this could be attributed to poor education on the significance of vaccines as well as the side-effects.

I admit that at first I was caught up in all the misinformation surrounding Sinovac, like rumours that we are being used by other countries and drug companies as guinea pigs, but in early May I will go back to get my second dose.

Jocelyn Guinto, 52, nursing attendant, Manila, Philippines

‘I am worried every time I go to work’

Philippine nursing assistant Jocelyn Guinto speaks at a rally on workers’ rights at a hospital in Quezon City, Philippines in 2019 in this handout photo courtesy of Jocelyn Quinto via Thomson Reuters Foundation

I’m a nursing attendant. I haven’t been vaccinated. I had some hesitation but I really want to be vaccinated now.

I work inside the clinical area, I assist nurses in their jobs such as bathing the patients, changing diapers or taking the patients to the procedure areas like for their CT scans.

There are times that I will be called into the COVID-19 wards. We have three wards of COVID-19 patients, with about 100 beds.

Last year I was infected with COVID-19. I was hospitalised for 14 days.

When the first batch of the vaccines arrived here in the Philippines (in late February), it was the Sinovac vaccines. The priority was for healthcare workers but I did not register.

It is not that Sinovac is not effective, but I read that it has low efficacy rates. As healthcare workers, we need high efficacy rate vaccines.

After several weeks here comes the AstraZeneca vaccines. I registered for it but unfortunately the night before my vaccination I saw on the TV news other European countries have suspended it because of blood clots so I backed out.

So until now, I haven’t been vaccinated.

A health worker verifies a senior citizen’s information prior to receiving her first dose of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, at a covered court in Manila, Philippines, March 29, 2021. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

But now, if there are any vaccines available again, I will grab the opportunity regardless of the brand. There has been a surge of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. Even if the efficacy rate is low, it’s better than nothing at all.

For now, all I can do is worry. I have to do my job. Even though there are risks, it is my job to attend to COVID-19 patients. All I can do is to pray and worry for myself and for my family.

The lack of vaccines here in the Philippines affects me. Not all Filipinos can get vaccinated now because of the limited supply. It affects us, as healthcare workers. I’m worried every time I go to work.

We should be given the priority and the government should give us vaccines with high efficacy rates, just like the vaccines being used in other countries.

I hope these world leaders can listen to us in the poorer countries that we want more vaccines. This is a global pandemic, every country should be helping each other.

Reporters: Beh Lih Yi, Nita Bhalla, Roli Srivastava, Farai Shawn Matiashe, Kim Harrisberg
Text editing: Tom Finn, Kim Harrisberg and Helen Popper
Producer: Amber Milne