A student mental health nurse from Killyleagh has said that he is fully supportive of the government’s vaccine programme now being rolled out.
James Savage, a former pupil of Blackwater Integrated College, is about to begin his final year as a mental health nurse at the John Moore University in Liverpool and is enjoying the experience writes Jim Masson.
Speaking to Down News, James said that he has seen the full effect of Covid-19 on communities and families.
He said: “The vaccine is the way forward. I fully support it and I am utterly dismayed at most of the inaccurate news particularly on social media about the vaccine.
“I have seen how the NHS staff and social care workers are working under huge pressures in many different ways and I have the greatest admiration for them.
“We are so fortunate we have an NHS and social care system in our country and many people around the world are less fortunate than us.
“Basically, when you see your colleagues take ill with Covid-19, some seriously, and have to self-isolate, you begin to realise this disease is for real. It is not something dreamt up in a conspiracy theory. It kills people and wrecks lives.”
James, who was only recently elected last week to the Royal College of Nursing Student Committee as a representative for the North West of England, said: “In my capacity in this role I will be encouraging health care staff and student nurses alike to take the Covid-19 vaccine.
“The pubic has been exposed to an inordinate amount of misinformation in relation to Covid-19 generally and around the vaccines that have now become available.
“I am told that I am one of the first student nurses to have received the Covid-19 vaccine, and I am certainly the first leading student member of the RCN to receive it. However, student nurses will hopefully receive it in due course.
“I received my first vaccine jag in my capacity as a senior carer in Ringdufferin Nursing Home whilst home from university for Christmas. I am of course fortunate to have received the vaccine when I managed to get home from Liverpool for the Christmas period.
“I always work in a local Killyleagh nursing home during the holidays and I have particularly enjoyed being home. One of my other good deeds for the holiday was being Santa at the Ringdufferin Nursing Home and giving the residents their gifts.”
Looking back to last March and April when Covid-19 had a serious impact on the nursing home, James explained that he knew personally many of the residents in the home, and some died due to Covid-19.
He added: “It is quite difficult from a personal point-of-view watching people suffer from Covid-19 and dying in some cases.
“As a student, I was contracted to work in the front line of the NHS in England at the start of the pandemic and saw first hand the utter devastation of this deadly disease.
“Therefore, I am delighted that this vaccine will be rolled out over the next few months. The vaccine is safe and we should not listen to scaremongers. I have looked at the research on the vaccines and I’m happy with them.
“Covid-19 affects everyone across the board, young and old, but the elderly and more vulnerable. Because of this, everyone has a responsibility not to transmit the disease through our community.
“For the Doubting Thomases of this world, I would just ask them if they have serious reservations about taking the vaccine, don’t just talk it down, but go and chat to a health professional such as your nurse or GP and they will re-assure you.
“There are people who argue it can cause sterility, and others that it is part of a global scheme to control the population. This is just pure fiction.”
James summed up his plea to everyone to take the vaccine, adding: “We all have to take responsibility for getting control of this disease. The next few months will be a battle against Covid-19, and against those who believe that it is not a significant illness.