/‘I advise everyone to get it’: UK Covid patients tell of regrets over refusing jab | Coronavirus | The Guardian

‘I advise everyone to get it’: UK Covid patients tell of regrets over refusing jab | Coronavirus | The Guardian

For some people, the moment the ambulance arrives is the time they start expressing regrets about not receiving a coronavirus vaccine. For others, it’s the death of a loved one.

Healthcare workers and Covid patients have spoken out about growing numbers who, once faced with the serious reality of catching the virus, realise that they made a huge mistake.

Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, a senior intensive care registrar, said she had only come across one patient in critical care who had received both vaccination doses, and that the “vast majority” of people she was seeing were “completely unvaccinated”.

According to official statistics, about 60% of people being admitted to hospital with Covid are unvaccinated.

Batt-Rawden said it was difficult to witness the look of regret on patient’s faces when they became very unwell and needed to go on a ventilator. “You can see it dawn on them that they potentially made the biggest mistake of their lives [in not getting the vaccine], which is really hard,” she said, adding that she had overheard people telling family members about their remorse.

The patients who pull through are for ever changed – their Covid scepticism disappears once they have experienced time in intensive care, Batt-Rawden said.

One patient who regrets not being inoculated is teacher Abderrahmane Fadil, who nearly died from the virus. Speaking from his hospital bed last month, he said: “At the moment I am Covid-19 positive … My road to recovery has been excellent and positive and I am looking forward to getting the jab as soon as I get out of the hospital. I advise everyone to get it. I for one am prepared to go to hell to get the jab, instead of waiting for the disease to devour each and every one of us,” he said.

Glenn Barratt passed away in the Diana, Princess of Wales hospital in Grimsby after fighting coronavirus for weeks. The 51-year-old, from Cleethorpes, had opted not to have the vaccine. But his final words to bedside nurses and doctors were: “I wish I had.”

His family has now urged others not to make the same mistake. Ken Meech, a cousin, said if his relative had been vaccinated, “he would still be with us today”.

He told the Staffordshire newspaper the Sentinel: “I’m not a doom-monger or someone who’s telling you what you should do or not do. After all, we are supposed to live in a free world. But this is one of the saddest times of my life, losing my cousin, Big Glenn Barratt, to Covid.”

Carla Hodges, 35, whose stepfather, Leslie Lawrenson, 58, died at home from the virus on 2 July and whose mother ended up in hospital, said it had been a big wake-up call on the importance of inoculation. Lawrenson did not believe in vaccines.

“My mother did not have the vaccine either, although she had underlying health conditions such as diabetes,” Hodges said.

She said her mother was now looking to get a jab: “She is very lucky to still be here … I know not getting vaccinated is a massive regret of my mother’s. She was embarrassed to tell hospital staff she had not had the jab.”

Batt-Rawden said families often ask if anything could have been done to prevent the situation.

“You know that there is something that the patient could have had which would have meant their life is not at risk, and it is a question we get asked a lot,” she said, adding that in some instances relatives have actively discouraged their loved ones from getting vaccinated. A lot of the misinformation came from social media, she said.

Batt-Rawden said she felt guilty when patients came in and were not protected, as she thinks “we have failed them as a system and a country”. She said doctors will continue to speak up, advising anyone on the fence to get the jab. “The side-effects are mild … Listen to doctors who work in intensive care, because we are heartbroken every day and don’t want you to end up here.”