David Longden, 43, was among the first in Wales to be immune to Covid-19 on Tuesday, December 8 – the inaugural day the first dose of the Pfizer jab was deployed.
He was supposed to receive his second and final dose on Tuesday, Jan.5, but it was canceled due to a shift in focus that prioritized more people on the first jab.
The four chief medical officers of the United Kingdom, along with experts from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), have advised both parts of the Oxford and Pfizer vaccines to be administered 12 weeks apart, having initially planned to leave 21 days between Pfizer injections.
David tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday January 8 and is now self-isolating in a ‘log cabin’ garden at his home in Pontypridd, far from his partner Andrew Price.
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David, an A&E nurse at Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, said: “The government needs to protect its frontline NHS staff – not to do so is just myopic.
“I have now been out of service for several days as the emergency department is criticized with patients. Bridgend is one of the regions in Wales with the highest rates of coronavirus.
“I also run the risk of exposing my partner to the virus. He is diabetic and has many other health problems. So receiving that second dose would have given me peace of mind as well as him. ”
David said he started feeling unwell on January 7, booked himself a test for Merthyr Tyfdil, and then was confirmed positive for the virus 24 hours later.
“I had a headache and then a terrible head cold. The day before, I also had a bout of diarrhea and then I felt really ‘flu’ and lethargic, ”he said.
“I got sicker and sicker and had several of the typical symptoms of Covid like loss of taste and smell, but luckily I haven’t had a temperature yet. ”
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David said he was surprised when diagnosed with coronavirus, but attributed it to the most infectious strain circulating in Wales.
“In the first wave, I never tested positive with Covid, and I am very careful with my hand washing because I tried to protect my partner as much as possible,” he added.
“But with this new strain, they say it’s 50% more virulent and I think that’s clearly the case. ”
The British Medical Association (BMA) in Wales wrote to Health Minister Vaughan Gething last week expressing concerns about the current coronavirus rollout.
The letter from Dr David Bailey, chairman of the BMA Welsh Council, said the Pfizer vaccine trial only provided data to support the effectiveness of the two doses six weeks apart. He also warned that frontline NHS and care staff should receive both shots “at the earliest opportunity” because they were more likely to be exposed to the virus.
The Welsh NHS is currently seeing a record number of staff absences, which is largely attributable to positive Covid cases and rates of self-isolation.
“I can fully understand the logic of protecting as many people as possible, but I think it has come at the expense of following up on the evidence,” added David, who still has mild symptoms of the disease.
“During the first wave, frontline staff were not always protected from the virus due to a lack of PPE. Now I think the general consensus among the staff is that despite having a vaccine that offers 95% immunity, we are not fully protected. It’s a double whammy. ”
David added that the A&E Covid zone at the Princess of Wales was often full.
“It’s difficult and the workload is incessant. Luckily at Bridgend we have a fantastic team and we all come together. I feel proud and privileged to work alongside them, ”he said.
“But it looks like Russian roulette with this virus because you don’t know how your body will react. This is why I was so anxious when I tested positive because I have seen people get very, very sick. with her and not just the elderly. ”
Speaking at the Welsh government press conference on Monday, Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the decision to extend the gap between the two doses of the Pfizer vaccine would prevent more deaths.
He said: “Each of the vaccines provides a high level of protection against damage from the coronavirus. This is really good news for all of us.
“The second dose is important because it has some impact on improving protection, but in particular we believe it will provide longer term protection as well.
“Think of it this way: if you have two doses of the vaccine available, you can choose to give that to one person to provide excellent all-round protection, or you can decide to give two doses to two different people to provide both. with high level protection.
“This is the advice we received. That means we’re actually going to protect more people, prevent more hospitalization, and frankly and honestly, the clear advice I’ve had is that doing things this way will prevent more deaths.