Calls on public to take coronavirus vaccine

Calls on public to take coronavirus vaccine

6 January 2021

A KILLYLEAGH man has become one of the first student nurses in the UK to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

James Savage is now urging local people and fellow health professionals to take up the offer of the potentially life-saving jab as soon as it’s made available to them.

The 21 year-old student nurse got his vaccine over the weekend while working part-time as a senior staff member at Ringdufferin Nursing Home near Killyleagh.

The former Member of the UK Youth Parliament (MYP) for Strangford, James has recently been elected to the Students Committee of the Royal College of Nursing.

He represents the North West region as he attends Liverpool John Moores University where he hopes to qualify in a few years time as a mental health nurse.

His call to encourage others to take up the vaccine also comes from his own experience of contacting the virus last March and his sadness over losing his grandmother to Covid-19 last April, as well as some patients.

James, who has worked as a carer in nursing homes since he was 16, said: “The vaccine is the best hope for us to overcome challenges currently facing the country.

“I’ve worked in a nursing home during a major outbreak here after which I volunteered as a student nurse to take up a post in the NHS working on the wards helping to care for mental health patients.

“During my time working in health care and as a student nurse over the last five years, I have had to face many challenges. However, the personal and professional ones I have faced over the last year have been something else.

I like many in the country have had Covid-19, luckily I recovered but like too many, I also lost a beloved family member due to this disease.”

James received his vaccination at Ringdufferin where he works when he returns home for during university breaks. Patients in care homes have been severely affected from Covid-19 during the pandemic and residents and their staff were chosen by the government to be amongst the first to be vaccinated.

He explained: “When it came to my attention that I was one of the few student nurses to have received the vaccine at this stage so with my new role as a student ambassador I believed it was important to encourage all student nurses and all NHS workers and of course, all local people, to take up the opportunity to have the vaccine.

“These vaccines are the best chance we have to tackle this pandemic head on. I have personally seen the dedication and strength of our NHS and health care staff across the country.

“Their fortitude and courage have propped up the country in what are indeed dire times. The ability of the nursing profession to overcome adversity is truly great. I am truly thankful for those who cared for my grandmother.”

James, who often dresses up as Santa Claus at Christmas to brighten up the lives of the care home residents, highlighted the reliability of the vaccine.

He said: “This vaccine has been approved by an independent body here in the UK along with many other countries and has been well tested at every stage.

“I have received the vaccine here in Northern Ireland and I feel 100% confident taking it, having my family take it and encouraging others to take it.

“It will protect our most vulnerable and help our NHS to cope when it is so close to being overwhelmed. And make no mistake our hospitals are either full or filling fast. Room is running out and we need to do anything we can.”