One year on, the first NHS nurse to have the Covid-19 vaccine in the Black Country and West Birmingham says she would have a fourth jab if it means keeping everyone safe amid the ongoing pandemic.
Ly Fletcher, Matron of Ward 17 at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, was the first colleague to have the vaccine when the Manor Hospital starting administering them to the over 80s and healthcare workers 12 months ago today (8 December).
And Ly believes it’s more important than ever to get jabbed.
“I am proud to say I was the first to have the vaccine; I was first to have the second one and the first to have the booster jab – and I would have a fourth jab too,” said Ly.
“We don’t know how effective the vaccine is yet against the Omicron variant but we know your chances of fighting Covid are better having had the jab.
“I think we have to be proactive when it comes to getting the vaccine. Since the vaccine we have seen a decrease in the numbers of admissions with Covid.
“I lead a team of staff and it’s so important for our staff to be safe so we can give ourselves the best chance of keeping our patients safe.”
Ly was Ward Manager of the Intensive Care Unit when she made history as the first to receive the vaccine. And she has seen first hand the consequences of those who catch the virus.
“Patients who have been vaccinated seem to cope much better than those who haven’t, so there’s a higher probability of them being discharged said Ly, who has worked for the Trust for 16 years.
“From personal experience of working on ICU, people who have had the vaccine have better outcomes than those who don’t. I remember how horrendous and scary it was, so I think we should grab any chance we can to have the vaccine.”
Ly, 47, who has two sons, says all her immediate family have remained healthy, although her brother caught the virus; thankfully making a full recovery.
“My husband, who works in construction, has had the booster and my eldest son has had both jabs and I’m trying to persuade him to have the booster,” added Ly. “When my youngest son is 12 I will book him in to have his jab.”
Louise Arliss, Senior Sister, Sexual Health, was the first member of staff from The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) to receive the jab in Walsall. She has since had the second jab and the booster.
She said: “I felt very proud to be the first person in our Trust to get the vaccine. At the time I did not realise I was – I just wanted to get myself vaccinated as quick as possible as I felt I was in a vulnerable group.
“I believe it’s important for people to have their vaccines, not only to protect themselves, but other people they may come in contact with too.”