C&I staff receive their COVID-19 vaccination

As frontline NHS workers, our staff at C&I are now being offered the COVID-19 vaccination in order to keep our patients, colleagues and families safe. Here, some of our colleagues share why it is so important to take up the offer of the COVID-19 vaccination and what being vaccinated personally means to them. 
Remi Oke, Dementia Navigator (pictured right)
"I decided to get the vaccination to show that I have full confidence in the vaccination programme to combat the wide spread of the virus. I also want to encourage others with allergies that the vaccination is safe. We are all responsible for ourselves and every other person we come in contact with to make an effort to protect each other."

Daphne Santos Lead Community Learning Disability Mental Health Nurse (pictured left)

“We work with and support adults with learning disabilities who present with physical and mental health needs in the community.

“People with learning disabilities experience many health inequalities, and latest research from the Mortality Review into COVID-19 deaths shows that people with learning disabilities are 6 x more likely to die of Covid, than the general population. People with learning disabilities between the ages of 16-34 are 30 times more likely to die of COVID-19, than people in the same age group without disabilities, which is a very shocking statistic.

“Supported living residents are also at higher risk of getting COVID-19 due to the environment that they live in. Therefore, I felt it was my duty as a nurse to get vaccinated, in order to protect the vulnerable client group I work with. In turn, getting the vaccination also protects me and my own family and friends. I would encourage all working with vulnerable groups of individuals to get vaccinated.”

Cerdic Hall, Nurse Consultant (pictured right)
"I recently had my Covid-19 vaccination and didn’t hesitate when given the opportunity. It’s an incredible achievement to get these vaccines out so quickly and with such efficacy. With so many wonderful local plans for mental health services, I’m keen to ensure frontline workers and our vulnerable clients get vaccinated so we can get on with making these great improvements happen."
Jackie Peterson, Community Mental Health Occupational Therapist 
“It’s so important that we all get our vaccine as soon as possible. This is the most important vaccination of my adult life so far. I'm proud to be vaccinated to protect not just myself, but my clients and colleagues.” 
David Dunkley, who works in the Better Lives service 
"I work within the health and social care field, in particular substance misuse in the borough of Islington, so I consider myself very fortunate that I was given the opportunity to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. My reasons for accepting the vaccine are because of the fact that due to my role, I need to travel to work and sometimes I need to travel between sites and in order to do this, I need to use public transport.
I have two sons under the age of 12 and my fiance is also pregnant, so for me it was a no brainer that I should take this opportunity in order to keep myself and, more importantly, my family safe.
I am aware that the NHS has had a low turnout of people from the BAME community taking up the vaccination, so I felt it was important to spread the message of how important it is to accept the vaccine."
Allison Whyte, Pharmacy team
“I had my first "Covid-19 recently and it feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. This makes returning to work after a years maternity leave that little bit easier. Thank you C&I and Whittington Health - a very smooth process and I felt in safe hands.” 
Dionne Holness, Office Manager/Executive Assistant (pictured right)
"After weighing up the health risks of either taking the vaccine versus the risk of catching the virus, I decided to go ahead. It's reported that BAME communities have a higher risk of having severe symptoms if they contract the virus. Having recently experienced the death of a family member to covid, I feel fortunate to have had opportunity to be offered the vaccine so early in the government rollout."
Luke Aladenika, Staff Nurse 
"I had the vaccine and it was a very calming process. It wasn’t painful  - I didn’t even notice the needle going in! There was a bit of time afterwards where the clinical staff just checked we were ok after the vaccine – similar to how they do with other vaccines. Afterwards, I had a bit of soreness in my arm but I feel great other than that. Covid-19 has been and continues to be a traumatic global situation, and there has been so much resource put in to find a vaccine. And it shows just how much we can achieve when resource and time is put into it."
Dr Bhaskar Punukollu, Consultant in Addiction Psychiatry 
“I had the Covid-19 vaccine just before Christmas. Everything went fine – I did have a little bit of tiredness but that subsided after a few days of getting the vaccine. I have asthma and I am from a BAME background, both of which mean I’m at a higher risk of getting very ill from Covid-19. Seeing my dad get very ill from Covid-19 back in April was also really difficult, and after reading more about the vaccine, I decided that having it was the best thing to do to keep myself and my family safe. I hope everyone in the Trust gets their jab when offered it in the coming weeks.”
Anonymous C&I colleague
“10 years ago I was ventilated in ICU. I experienced ICU delirium where I thought the staff were trying to kill me when they injected me. The nurses were actually saving my life. Now I have chosen to be injected to keep not only myself, but others out of ICU. I have chosen to be vaccinated to protect ICU staff from the complete burnout that will come if the numbers in ICU do not reduce. 
I wouldn’t want anyone to experience the pain, vulnerability and delirium that I experienced. I want to do what I can to break the chain of transmission that ultimately leads to a person vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19 being in that ICU bed - their bodies full of wires and surrounded by machines. Being vaccinated is a social responsibility. Please don’t be that person who passes Covid-19 on to others.”
Julia Marotti, Trainee Clinical Psychologist
"I hope that our mental health services can continue or restart offering face-to-face support to ensure all people that need it can access support for their mental health. I believe for this to be the future, the vaccine will be essential. I want to protect my colleagues, patients, loved ones and anyone who may be in contact with me. I may have been worried about whether I’ll get side effects but that worry isn’t big enough to stop me from having the vaccine. These side effects will pass, however the Covid-19 virus can kill. I chose to have the vaccine to minimise the spread and hopefully keep people safer."
Ruth Crowley, Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist (pictured left)
"Professionally - I felt a duty of care to protect our patients and reduce transmission to and from colleagues as much as we are able. Especially working within an older adults service who are recognised as a vulnerable group and of knowing that we have already sadly lost Andy Costa, our administrator to this virus.  
Personally - There is a definite need to reassure friends and family of my reduced risk.  I have friends/family who do not wish to meet me as I work in a hospital.  I have many friends who are shielding and have health conditions  which make them particularly vulnerable.  I would not wish to pass the virus onto them  - regret is a terrible feeling and prevention is far better than cure.  Thankfully via the Trust, we are able to have the vaccine and utilise the self-testing lateral flow tests.  I also wear specific clothes to/from and at work as additional evidence of the precautions I’m taking to appease their concerns. 
Separately, there is the fact of my own need to feel safe. We can all come across various situations in our lives of some people who are not masks/shields and some who blatantly ignore the social distance guidance. By having the vaccine and practising good hygiene measures, I control my own behaviour which may protect me.  In these times, mindfulness is highly useful. I focus on what I can control to stop me getting the virus and reducing the risk of me passing it on to others which demonstrates my humanitarian approach.  I also live on my own so there is no one to support me if I become unwell. None of us wish to lose friends, colleagues or family or feel responsible for transmitting the virus to our patients when we are there to protect and support them. We can all do something to reduce that risk by having the vaccination which is free and is being provided to all healthcare workers as a priority.   
Cathy Peake, Clinical Placement Manager (pictured right)
"I am the clinical placement manager and part of that role is managing the student nurse placements within C&I. I am having the Covid-19 vaccine because I know that it will save lives and reduce hospitalisations. I believe it is totally safe so I want to encourage all the students within our Trust to prioritise getting the vaccine, as well as all the staff in the NHS. It is the only way to get through the pandemic."
Rainela Xhemollari, Specialist Systemic Therapist (pictured left)
"This vaccine is not readily available to people all around the world. I am very happy that my employer, the NHS, is able to offer it to the whole UK population. Vaccines have been saving lives for centuries and as with every remedy in this world, there may be occasions of unwanted effects. I understand that may create anxiety for some people. In this case I trust the governing body that has approved the Covid-19 vaccine’s use in the UK and I trust my employer, the NHS, that they have made a decision to approve and administer this vaccine based on scientific evidence that this is going to safeguard us against the virus. The Covid-19 vaccine is our only way out of this global crisis with huge humanitarian, social and financial costs. 
Julie Gosheva Assistant Psychologist (pictured right)

“I got the vaccine because I believe it’s the most effective way of ending the pandemic, which has seen a huge death toll, as well as affecting many valuable industries, our culture, economy, mental health, and so many things that make us who we are.

"I think the vaccine is testament to our resilience, ingenuity and ability to adapt. I am not worried about its safety, as there have been many coronaviruses which have already been widely studied, and all that knowledge has been put towards this vaccine. We are not getting the actual virus, the vaccine is just teaching our immune cells to recognise the virus and fight it. It is not changing our DNA, it is merely teaching it one extra skill in terms of recognising Covid-19. This is a superpower in a global pandemic and I hope more people will come on board.”

Kirstine McDowall, Peer Tutor, Recovery College (pictured left)
“I knew that as soon as I was offered the vaccine I would jump at the chance. I’m not at all embarrassed to admit that I am scared of catching Covid. I know how infectious it is. I’ve recently seen friends and family members who I know are careful and take precautions still catch it. People might think you can calculate your risk, but I don’t think you can know how it will affect you until you catch it. 
“I’ve seen an elderly family member with a serious lung condition come through it and a young family member with no health problems have a Covid induced heart attack. Two close friends caught it in March and are still ill with Long Covid. To be ill for months and have no-one able to tell you when or if you’ll recover - that’s scary.
“I know some people are worried about how quickly the vaccine was produced but I think it was produced quickly because every qualified person on the planet was working on it. 
“Yes, there may be side effects, but balancing something that may or may not happen against something that is a risk every minute of every day, for me, getting the vaccine was a no-brainer.”
Mohammed Jallah, ISS Frontline Services Manager 
"I am working across different sites in Camden and Islington and i feel it's very important for me to be get the vaccination to protect myself and others around me from getting COVID-19."
John Vaijinath, Administrator in our Camden Memory Service (pictured left)
“I'm so glad to receive the vaccine and I'm feeling more confident and less worried about COVID-19. The vaccine helps to combat such viruses, saves lives and helps life get back to normal!"

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