Double dose of Covid for NHS worker shows vital importance of vaccine

One of the NHS’s dedicated staff is warning the public to make sure they get both doses of the Covid vaccine – after her decision to be vaccinated made the difference between a trip to intensive care and a quick recovery.

Jemma Johnson, 35, from Sunderland is facilities manager for QE Facilities Ltd, a subsidiary of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust. She manages the 250 amazing domestic staff who make sure the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Bensham and other Gateshead sites are kept spotlessly clean.

In October 2020, she fell ill with Covid-19. She explains: “We were just flat out working and I didn’t feel very well. So I went to get tested and it was positive. My poor husband kind of panicked a little bit when I was struggling to breathe and rang an ambulance. And they came to get me, I was admitted to critical care.

“I was in hospital for about three weeks, – I think I was in critical care for almost a week. I was off work for nearly eight weeks.”

After working hard to recover, Jemma was unlucky and caught Covid a second time at the start of July 2021. But this time around, because she’d had the vaccination, it was a much milder illness and one that she could recover from at home.

Jemma says: “I was hospitalised the first time round but this time it was like a flu, so it was nowhere near what it was like last time. It was probably a week stuck at home, where I wasn’t at full capacity, then a week working from home and then I was back at work. All I kept thinking was ‘that’s because of the vaccination’. There’s a huge difference between catching covid with the vaccine and not.”

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus. In England, the COVID-19 vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at local centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres. 

Find out how to book your vaccination on the NHS website