Heartbroken widower urges people in Wales to get a Covid vaccine after the death of his wife

  • Watch the full report by Dean Thomas Welch

A man who lost his wife to coronavirus just weeks before the vaccine rollout is calling for people to come forward to get their jab.

Jackie Watkins was just 48 when she died last November after being diagnosed with the virus.

Jackie died just weeks before the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine Credit: Phil Watkins

Her heartbroken husband Phil, from Neath, is now on a mission to convince those who have refused the vaccine to take up the offer for the sake of everyone in their communities.

In November, just weeks before the vaccine rollout, Phil's wife began feeling unwell with a high temperature and shortness of breath.

Phil said: "Her condition deteriorated to such an extent that she said she needed to go to hospital.

"We had this discussion about going into hospital and the possibility of her not coming out."

Jackie was taken by ambulance to Morriston Hospital in Swansea and just days later Phil received a devastating phone call.

"The doctor on the ward phoned me and said, 'We're really sorry, Jackie's condition has gone to such an extent we are now giving palliative care,' Phil said.

Phil and his twin children Megan and Jack Credit: Phil Watkins

Phil, as well as their twin children Megan and Jack, 14, were able to visit the hospital to be with Jackie during her final few days.

But as they travelled home from the hospital one day, they got a call from doctors asking them to return as her condition had deteriorated. By the time they made it to the hospital she had passed away.

"Jackie was the glue at the centre of our house that kept everything together," he said.

"Now we have to continue as a smaller family unit."

Phil says Jackie was "the glue that kept everything together" Credit: Phil Watkins

Jackie, who had a disability and needed support from carers, would have been one of the first to receive a vaccine when the rollout began in December 2020.

Now, her husband is telling his story to convince people get the jab.

He said: "Don't hesitate, go and get the vaccine.

"You need to reduce the risks wherever possible. The vaccination will help prevent you getting that serious condition if you do get Covid."

The family are now planning to raise money for the hospital that took care of Jackie by taking part in a three peaks challenge, climbing Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis over three days in September.

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