Welsh nurse becomes first patient in the country to receive booster vaccine as roll out begins

A nurse in St Asaph has become the first person to receive a Covid booster jab as the roll out begins across Wales.

Orthopaedic nurse Ewa Syczuk, who works at a clinic in St Asaph, has been working on the frontline of the vaccination campaign since the beginning of this year.

It comes as Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board made the decision to prioritise health workers following the latest JCVI advice.

The 50-year-old said she thought she was "going to die" when she caught the virus in April last year.

"I was very very ill and was very fortunate. I thought I was going to die. There are two weeks I can’t remember – my partner said he had to remind me to breathe.

"A month after I got better from being ill, I could still only manage about 500 steps then I’d have to spend the rest of the day in bed."

It took the mother-of-two six months to get back on her feet.

Ewa said she "thought she was going to die" when she caught coronavirus last year Credit: Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Other parts of Wales will soon follow suit with Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board bringing out boosters to those in care homes from Saturday 18 September.

West Wales, Swansea, Powys and Cardiff and Vale vaccination programmes have also been confirmed for care home residents and healthcare workers from Monday 20 September.

Ewa still suffers from shortness of breath and fatigue. She urged others to get the booster jab, "It’s not just the virus, it’s the long-term effects of it too".

She added, "It’s so nice to see people coming to get the vaccine – including the 16 and 17 year olds".

How many people have received their second coronavirus vaccine?

  • 95% of health and social care workers

  • 95.7% of care home residents

  • 87% of those in high risk groups

The autumn booster programme comes as the Welsh Government announced children aged between 12 and 15 will be offered the vaccine.

The JCVI is advising that booster vaccines are offered to the most vulnerable in society as we go into winter.

It is only recommended at least six months after a second dose of the vaccine.

The autumn booster programme has been rolled out across Wales following JCVI guidance.

Gill Harris, Executive Director of Nursing at BCUHB, said, "We’ve been planning for the booster programme for some time and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to move so quickly to offer this additional protection to our hard working frontline staff".

She added, "In accordance with JCVI guidance, we’re inviting frontline health and social care staff for their booster vaccine first".

Health Minister Eluned Morgan has said Wales will continue to follow JCVI guidance to offer those in priority groups one to nine a booster jab.

These include frontline health and social care workers, adults over 50 and those with underlying health condition.

She called Wales' vaccination programme "world leading" and encouraged those who need it to get their booster.

"I would urge all those who are eligible for a booster take up the offer when they are called for an appointment, as there is the possibility of reduced immunity from their earlier doses of the vaccine as time passes.

"If you haven’t had the first dose of the vaccine yet, it’s not too late. I encourage anyone who has not yet taken up their offer to do so."