In her work at Singleton Hospital in Swansea, she has seen firsthand how ‘heartbreaking’ a Covid experience can be for those unlucky enough to catch it.
Then came the game-changing vaccine, and suddenly there was a way for people to better protect themselves against this killer virus.
Read more : Covid Infection Rates Rise Across Swansea City
So it was even more heartbreaking to see two people she knew refuse to accept an offer that might have saved their lives.
Grace, who works in the hospital’s domestic service and is the black officer at Unison’s branch in Swansea, said her two friends, one of whom worked with her in the hospital, died ago about nine months after contracting the virus.
“A friend of mine, her health has deteriorated, we were all hoping she would beat Covid,” Grace said.
“At first when the vaccine came out the NHS people had it in the first place, she refused to take the vaccine. When she didn’t it was horrible, one minute we were sharing food, the next minute she was gone. It made me feel like I had to do something to educate people.
Grace, 50, who lives in Townhill, has worked at the hospital since 2013. She said she felt very lucky because she had received two doses of the vaccine. This week alone, it was reported that more than 12,000 Welsh hospital staff had contracted Covid since the start of the pandemic.
“I cried after my first jab, not because it hurt, but because I felt proud to contribute to society by being part of the solution to this terrible pandemic. If you care about the people you love, take it, if you want to get back to normal life it’s the only way, just take it.
“My mother passed away last year and I couldn’t even go home due to the restrictions on saying goodbye to him, we have to beat him to get back to a normal life. “
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The 50-year-old said working at the hospital during the pandemic was “heartbreaking” to watch.
“I can’t explain the suffering that Covid has caused us, just don’t take it for granted, some countries can’t have the vaccine, we can it’s there for us, you can trust the science and the professionals. With this vaccine, yes if you get it (Covid) you can survive. “
Grace has now enlisted the help of her colleagues in educating people in Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) communities about the importance of getting vaccinated against Covid-19. She asked colleagues from these communities to participate in a series of photographs containing legend maps to explain why they chose to take the vaccine when offered to them.
“There are many reasons why people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities might not get the vaccine. By giving people the opportunity to say “I was vaccinated because…” we hope to show that the vaccine is safe and vital to protect you, those you love and your community, ”she said.
“Everyone has suffered during this pandemic, I have lost two friends who have not taken the vaccination and have since died from Covid-19. As such, I am passionate about the need for people to get vaccinated. “
Reasons people wrote on their cards included, ‘I need to protect myself, my family, my patients and protect the public’, ‘this is the only way to beat Covid-19 for good’ and ‘ due to the efficacy proven in trials’.
‘This is a sentiment shared across the NHS and I have been overwhelmed by the number of my colleagues who jumped at the opportunity to add their voice to the campaign encouraging people to get vaccinated,’ said Grace .
Staff at Singleton Hospital have come out in force to support the initiative and the photographs will be used over the coming weeks and months to support the ‘Tell Me More Campaign’, which aims to dispel fear and mistrust, and to encourage the adoption of Covid -19 vaccination among BAME communities.
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The “Tell Me More Campaign” is led by representatives of the BAME communities of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot. It directs people to honest and accurate information from trusted local sources, including doctors, religious and community leaders, as well as ordinary people, friends and neighbors, who live and work in the community, so that people in these communities can really educate themselves about the decisions.
Henry Gilbert, former High Sheriff of West Glamorgan and Campaign Chair, said: “Over the past 15 months we have seen many examples of ordinary people escalate in extraordinary times. Grace and her colleagues are shining examples and I would like to thank them for supporting our campaign.
“NHS workers are trustworthy and well respected, and by sharing their reasons for taking the vaccine, they will help instill confidence in others in our communities.
“For many months, false information has been circulating on social media, including claims that the vaccines are against Islam, that they contain pork, or that they can cause infertility, but none of these claims is true.
“Me and many of my colleagues at the Tell Me More forum, were also fortunate to have received two doses of the vaccine and we urge people who are in doubt to find out the facts from a reliable source and take the vaccine. . when it is offered.
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