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The hospital nurse, who works within the Hywel Dda University Health Board area, said morale is at an all-time low among her colleagues.

British Medical Association (BMA) Cymru Wales has already expressed concern about the length of time between doses.

The health board said the vaccination offers “the best protection we have, but no vaccine is 100% effective”.

Q&A: When will I get the Covid-19 vaccines? Wales lags behind England as 50,000 vaccinated

‘Bethan’ – not her real name – said: “I feel a huge amount of guilt – the fact that I made my family unwell. It’s heartbreaking. I feel deflated, angry and upset at how frontline workers are being treated.”

Working on the NHS frontline, she was initially relieved to be offered the chance of a vaccine and despite difficulties getting an appointment, she received her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine last month.

“It gave me peace of mind. It made me feel safer and that I was doing the right thing for my family… but it gives a false sense of security,” she said.

The nurse, from west Wales, said she was told it would take 10 days for the vaccine to offer some protection and reduce the risk of transmission.

However three weeks after the jab, she began to feel unwell and was “shocked” when she tested positive for coronavirus.

“I developed quite severe symptoms – a really bad cough, high temperature, breathlessness and that was three weeks after having the vaccine. I was petrified for my family,” she said.

Despite her best efforts, which even included boil-washing her uniform, Bethan’s partner and one of her children also tested positive.

“Within days we were dropping like flies and my family’s symptoms were more severe than mine,” she added.

The first vaccination rollout – the Pfizer vaccine – began on 8 December last year. Two doses are needed and to date around a million people have already received the first dose. The original advice – in Wales and the rest of the UK – was that people would need the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine three weeks after the first injection. But that changed last month to 12 weeks between doses on the advice of the UK’s chief medical officers. The World Health Organisation does not recommend following the UK’s decision, saying there was no evidence to support it. Pfizer said it has tested the vaccine’s efficacy only when the two doses were given up to 21 days apart.

The first vaccination rollout – the Pfizer vaccine – began on 8 December last year. Two doses are needed and to date around a million people have already received the first dose. The original advice – in Wales and the rest of the UK – was that people would need the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine three weeks after the first injection. But that changed last month to 12 weeks between doses on the advice of the UK’s chief medical officers. The World Health Organisation does not recommend following the UK’s decision, saying there was no evidence to support it. Pfizer said it has tested the vaccine’s efficacy only when the two doses were given up to 21 days apart.

Doctors’ union, BMA Cymru Wales, said there was a lack of evidence to support waiting 12 weeks for a second vaccine dose.

Chair Dr David Bailey, said the plan was “putting people at risk”.

“We’re also very concerned the Pfizer vaccine has poor data for the first vaccine preventing transmission,” he said.

“Our families don’t choose to be exposed to a much higher dose of Covid, so we feel it’s right that we should be protecting health workers and their families.”

Bethan believes frontline NHS workers should be prioritised for the second dose.

“It’s controversial to say it, but they’re prioritising the wrong group of people,” she said.

“I feel strongly that frontline workers need to be prioritised because it’s highly contagious and we don’t know what we’re bringing home to our families.

“I’m really nervous about going back to the ward. We don’t know where we stand with the second vaccine and how much protection it provides.”

She said she feels let down by her managers at work and said morale amongst staff is at an “all-time low”.

“I’ve seen how badly this has affected my family. I want people to see what we’re being exposed to and how unprotected we are,” she said.

“I feel my family have been let down. There should be a rollout for frontline workers’ families, especially those with children.

“Nurses are on their knees. A lot… feel unprotected and unsupported.

“We’re well aware that this is what we signed up for, but it’s heartbreaking. I think a lot of them will leave – I’m one of them.”

‘NHS staff need vaccine first’ as pressures mount Student nurse ventilated with Covid returns to work Nurses at hotspot hospital ’emotionally attacked’

‘NHS staff need vaccine first’ as pressures mount Student nurse ventilated with Covid returns to work Nurses at hotspot hospital ’emotionally attacked’

Hywel Dda health board said it has already vaccinated more than 10,000 high-risk people, including frontline NHS staff.

Deputy Chief Executive Dr Philip Kloer, said: “It is always distressing to hear about staff contracting the virus. Whilst the vaccine reduces your chance of suffering from Covid-19, no vaccine is 100% effective.

“There is particular risk that you may have contracted COVID-19 immediately prior to having the vaccine without knowing it, or that you may contact it in the week or two following vaccination as your body builds up protection.

“We have communicated the UK policy and assurances on second doses to our staff and assured them they will receive their second dose within 12 weeks of the first.”

He added: “Working within the NHS at the moment is very challenging and we acknowledge how difficult this is.

“Staff have worked tirelessly and made many sacrifices on behalf of caring for our communities and we are extremely grateful. We have put in place additional support and counselling and psychological support services.”

Related Topics Coronavirus pandemic Coronavirus testing Coronavirus vaccines Vaccination

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Source:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-55579028

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