Two Cornwall residents are urging people to ‘grab a jab’ after they were hit hard by Covid despite being fully vaccinated.
A mum-of-two from Polruan, near Fowey, and a Cornwall Council employee have spoken out about their experiences battling the virus.
Both say they dread to think what could have happened if they had not taken up the vaccine offer and called on people to take precautions to stop Covid from spreading.
Their warning comes as increasing numbers of residents and visitors in Cornwall are reportedly ignoring social distancing and choosing not to wear face coverings.
Arthur Roberts, who works in Emergency Management at the Council, has recorded a video about his ordeal, while Sarah’s story is detailed below.
In his account, Arthur, 64, said that eight weeks after contracting the virus he is only just beginning to get over the severe fatigue, brain fog and memory issues that plagued him.
Sarah, 50, who received her jabs back in March and May, encouraged everyone to get vaccinated and keep following the tried-and-tested guidance where possible.
“My message is simple: ‘please get vaccinated!’,” said Sarah, who was left bedbound by the virus.
“Just because you’re double jabbed, doesn’t mean you’re invincible! Covid affects everyone differently and you might not get mild symptoms. Every day I felt so ill I was so grateful that I was double-jabbed and kept thinking what could have happened if I wasn’t vaccinated.”
She added: “The vaccine is there to help and we should all be doing our bit to slow the spread and keep everyone safe. People should also try to keep taking the well-known precautions as much as possible and wear face coverings because we know these things work.”
Sarah, who lives with husband, had both her children home from university when she started to feel ill at the end of August.
Describing how her symptoms progressed, she said: “I started off with a fuzzy head and sore throat, the lateral flow tests showed negative so I booked a PCR test which came back positive. I quickly deteriorated over the next 48 hours and developed a blocked nose, loss of taste and smell, temperature, terrible headache and fatigue.
“I slept a lot and then over the next 10 days my symptoms included diarrhoea. The headache and fatigue were constant even after the 10 days.”
Sarah was aware of how easily she could spread the virus to the rest of her family so chose to follow the Council’s public health advice and completely isolate herself from them. As a result, none of her family members contracted the virus.
“From the time I had my PCR test I isolated in my bedroom,” she said. “I was very fortunate to have the space to be able to isolate from the rest of the family. They left jugs of water outside my door and food when I wanted it, which wasn’t often as I lost my appetite.
“The hardest part about self-isolation was being on my own and not seeing my family. To start with I slept a lot but as the time went on it felt really lonely.”
Sarah said it took around three weeks to start feeling better again.
“I feel so grateful that I recovered and to have the vaccine offered to me,” she said. “It was really scary that I felt so poorly but I’m one of the lucky ones.”
Rachel Wigglesworth, Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “I’m hugely grateful to Sarah and Arthur for sharing their stories, which are a reminder to everyone of how important it is to get vaccinated.
“I would also strongly echo the plea for people to keep taking the precautions that are proven to slow the spread of Covid: wear a face covering in busy areas or indoors; keep your distance from people where possible and meet outside if you can; and make sure indoor spaces are well-ventilated if meeting outside isn’t an option.
“It’s also vital that people self-isolate and get a PCR test if they have any of the classic Covid symptoms or any unexplained symptoms. We know the virus can spread quickly within a household so doing what Sarah did and isolating quickly from the rest of your family is also crucial if we want to keep community transmission to a minimum.”
Cllr Dr Andy Virr, Portfolio Holder for Adults and Public Health and an Emergency Department consultant at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, said: “Vaccines are our best weapon in the battle against Covid and I’d encourage everyone to get their jabs as soon as they can.
“Being fully vaccinated means you’re less likely to contract the virus in the first place, but if you do it will pack much less of a punch than it would if you were unprotected. So all in all it’s a bit of a no-brainer!”
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For more information visit www.kernowccg.nhs.uk