A Covid-19 survivor has urged people to have their booster jab after he contracted the virus around the same time as an unvaccinated friend who sadly died.
Gary Fletcher, who is Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Director of Pharmacy and Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer, and his wife Geraldine both caught the virus back in August.
The couple, who had both had their two doses of the vaccination, felt so weak when they fell ill that they were unable to get out of bed for 10 days, and both were off work for three weeks.
They started suffering with lethargy, aching joints and muscles, plus severe headaches, severe coughs and blocked up noses, and PCR tests confirmed the worst.
Gary, aged 60, and Geraldine, 57, who is a psychologist, believe they caught the virus after visiting a friend in Surrey whose 63-year-old husband, who wasn’t vaccinated, became infected and eventually sadly died.
Both Gary and Geraldine were previously fit and healthy with no underlying health conditions.
After becoming so poorly however, Gary – a regular at the gym until the pandemic – was struck at how ill people can become despite protection of the vaccine and believes everyone should ensure they are vaccinated.
“I believe anyone who is not vaccinated and not intending to be should seriously think again,” said Gary. “Compared to how poorly you can get with Covid, it’s nonsense not to be vaccinated.
“I’m aware we could have been affected even worse if we hadn’t been double vaccinated, so it just goes to show how important it is to have the vaccine.
“At the time we were ill, as the days went on, I was worried I could end up in hospital, or possibly even worse.
“It was painful just to lie there doing nothing. I was sweating like crazy and my muscles were painful to touch.
“My head was so painful I was taking a lot of Co-codamol to relieve the pain and I was constantly coughing, so I wasn’t able to sleep.
“Even when I recovered from feeling really awful I still felt lethargic and had brain fog.”
Gary was surprised at how easy it was to catch the virus. “We were only with the friend for an afternoon then went out for a meal with her on the night,” he added. “It just shows how contagious it is.”
The couple’s condition was even more worrying as their daughter – who lives with them in Sutton Coldfield with her husband – was heavily pregnant at the time. She has since given birth to a son, Gary’s first grandchild, and thankfully all are fit and well.
Gary was one of the first to be vaccinated last December then had his second jab in January. At the time, a second jab was allowed just four weeks after the first.
When they caught the virus, the booster jab was not available and Gary believes his immunity could have been lowered as he was infected before he received the booster.
The take-home message from Gary is “Don’t be complacent; protect yourselves and your friends and family – get vaccinated!”