As in many other hospitals, the number of patients receiving treatment for COVID-19 at the Bradford Royal Infirmary, a Bradford hospital in central England, is increasing dramatically.
About half of them chose not to get vaccinated, which many now deeply regret.
“They offered me the vaccine, but I was arrogant,” says Faisal Bashir, a 54-year-old man in excellent physical condition.
“I would go to the gym, ride my bike, walk and run. Since I was strong and healthy, I thought I didn’t need it. Also, if it turned out to be unsafe, I wouldn’t have taken any risks,” he says.
“But the truth is that I couldn’t avoid the virus. I caught it, I don’t know how or where,” he says.
Bashir, who was released last Wednesday after a week in hospital receiving oxygen, admits to being influenced by social media as well as news about the extremely low risk of blood clots with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
But now he wants to encourage others not to make the same mistake.
“What I experienced in the hospital, the care and the professionalism, humiliated me,” he admits.
“People are filling hospitals because they take risks and this is wrong. I feel terrible. I feel so bad that I hope that speaking up will help others avoid this,” he says.
Covid-19 affects the unvaccinated
“About half of the patients in the (hospital) ward today did not receive the vaccine. I stopped asking them why, as they are clearly embarrassed,” says Dr. Abid Aziz after a grueling six-hour round.
Last month, the hospital’s number of COVID-19 patients dropped to single-digit numbers for the first time since last summer. But with the delta variant spreading, this week they have grown to almost 50.
This reflects the increase in rates in the community, a third in the last week, to almost 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
As it was for a long time, it is young people who are driving this change, with adolescent rates exceeding 750 per 100,000 and those in their 20s are not far behind.
Although few of them end up in the hospital, our patients are younger now on average than in previous waves. Most are between 30 and 40 years old.
“Some received the two doses of the vaccine and therefore had the mildest disease: they are alive with CPAP (for its acronym in English, a mechanical system of constant pressure delivery in the airway during inspiration and expiration ), without the vaccine they would probably be dead, “warns Abid Aziz.
“Others have just received their first dose, so they are not fully protected. It is worrying that approximately half of the patients in the room today have not been vaccinated,” he adds.
“Nice to be alive”
Abderrahmane Fadil, a 60-year-old science teacher with two young children, also regrets.
He was wary of vaccines because of the speed with which they were being given. About three-quarters of Bradford’s adult population have received a first dose of the vaccine, compared with 87% for the entire country.
Fadil ended up in intensive care for nine days, the first time he had spent a night in hospital since arriving from Morocco in 1985.
“I am delighted to be alive,” he says.
“My wife got the vaccine. I didn’t, I was reluctant. I was thinking for a long time that I had already lived with viruses, bacteria and that my immune system was good enough. I had symptoms of covid-19 at the beginning of the pandemic and I thought that maybe I had already passed it, that my immune system would recognize the virus and have defenses, “he says.
“This was the biggest mistake of my life. It almost cost me my life. I made many silly decisions in my life, but this was the most dangerous and serious,” he admits.
Fadil left the hospital almost a month ago, but he’s still not feeling well.
“I would like to be able to talk to each one of the people who refuses to wear it,” he says, “and tell them: ‘Look, this is a matter of life and death. Do you want to live or die? To live, then get the vaccine’ “.
Professor John Wright, a physician and epidemiologist, is director of the Bradford Institute for Health Research and a veteran of the cholera, HIV and Ebola epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa. He is writing this diary for BBC News.
Remember that you can receive notifications from BBC News Mundo. Download the latest version of our app and activate them so you don’t miss out on our best content.
BBC-NEWS-SRC: https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-57894936, IMPORTING DATE: 2021-07-21 09:30:06