20 April 2021

Modern Matron Graham Manyere feels so strongly about the benefits of vaccination, he's got the t-shirt - a t-shirt that shows a long list of infections that are no longer a threat due to vaccination. As the BAME Staff Network lead, he urges all colleagues to come forward to have their COVID vaccine when they are able to. Below, he explains how scared he felt when he had coronavairus, and why he wants to be sure he does not want to pass it on to others.

Why did you decide to have the COVID vaccine?
In December 2020, I tested positive for COVID-19. It was a physically torturing time and one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.  Being bed-bound with no sense of taste or smell,  stuck in a room with no social connection to friends, loved ones and not being able to physically embrace my son, was deeply distressing.

Hence once I overcame the worst of the virus and somewhat recovered, I vowed I would get vaccinated as I wanted  to protect my family and friends from this

Did you have any concerns about having the COVID vaccine?
I was initially sceptical about the vaccine, However, after sharing personal experiences with colleagues in our monthly BAME Network Webinars, and taking part in various Trust COVID Vaccine Webinars, my concerns lessened, my questions were answered and I felt reassured.

How were you after the jab?
I was pretty anxious while getting the vaccine as you can see from my picture. I’m literally stiff faced as I have a phobia of needles! However, post vaccine I’ve had no adverse reactions apart from a numb arm for a while.

How do you feel to have had the vaccine now?
Pretty reassured and proud that I’ve done something that will have a major impact on my community, friends and family - in us eventually eradicating the impact of the virus.

What would you say to others still contemplating having the COVID vaccine?
I understand, and empathise with your anxieties and fears. For many, it's a life changing decision.  However, for me, the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the impact and lasting effects of COVID-19.

My call to colleagues is that everyone gets vaccinated.  More importantly I want to urge my BAME colleagues to have the vaccine being that BAME groups have been largely affected most by the virus. It's important that we get vaccinated as that is the best way to ensure we protect ourselves, our communities and our families.