A nurse who has first-hand experience of the devastating impact of COVID-19 has become the first in Wales and one of the first in the UK to receive a booster vaccine.
Following an announcement from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on Tuesday, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has moved quickly to offer additional protection to its patient-facing staff, with the first booster vaccine administered at 11:05am this morning.
The first booster jab in Wales was given to orthopaedic nurse Ewa Syczuk, at a clinic in St Asaph. The 50-year-old mum-of-two has been working on the frontline of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign since January 2021, and was inspired to get involved following her own experience with the virus.
She said: “I’m so pleased to get the booster jab because in April last year I had COVID. I was very very ill and was very fortunate. I thought I was going to die.
“There are two weeks I can’t remember – my partner said he had to remind me to breathe.
“A month after I got better from being ill, I could still only manage about 500 steps then I’d have to spend the rest of the day in bed.
“It took me six months to get back to work on a very slow phased return.
“The vaccine is like a godsend – I couldn’t wait to get mine. Everybody should have the vaccine to prevent that experience, because 19 months after having COVID I still can suffer from shortness of breath and fatigue.
“You don’t know if you will get ill – and you don’t know how ill you might become.
“It’s not just the virus, it’s the long-term effects of it too. The vaccines are fully approved by the authorities and by people who know what they are doing.
“It’s so nice to see people coming to get the vaccine – including the 16 and 17 year olds.
“The booster is so important for me – I’m terrified of the Delta variant and want the protection the booster gives.”
In accordance with JCVI guidance, booster vaccines are being offered to those most vulnerable to serious infection, ahead of the winter months. These include:
Find out further information on the COVID-19 vaccination programme.