Clinical lead occupational therapist Rebecca Holder is so relieved she’s had her Covid-19 vaccination and knows it’s a game-changer that has already kept her safe.

She is now urging all fellow at-risk staff to follow her lead and get theirs when called.

“My family all became unwell with Covid over Christmas but clearly the vaccine worked its magic and I remained negative and Covid-free – a miracle!” she says.

Her family are all now thankfully well, and Becks can barely wait to get back to being physically present with her colleagues and patients (after self-isolating for 10 days due to her family getting Covid!)

“While maintaining infection control guidelines remain paramount, I do feel less anxious and more confident going back into work knowing that I have some protection,” she says.

Normally based with the rehabilitation service at the Witney Community Hospital, Becks had been working remotely since March. She shared her experience with us:

“I have had Type 1 diabetes for 40 years and regard myself as fit and well. I have never regarded my diabetes as debilitating or an ‘illness’ that would affect my day to day life. I generally live life to the full!

“However, when Covid hit in March, I needed to leave the hospital site as I was classed as ‘vulnerable’ in the presence of Covid positive patients. I prepared to work virtually from home.

“This was extremely hard for me, especially leaving my team to work through the Covid crisis.  It was a scary time for everyone.

“My team would be best placed to say whether I was of any use to them while I worked from home, but what I tried to do was remain ‘present’. I attended daily patient discharge meetings and weekly multi-disciplinary team meetings. Staff were always able to call me to discuss patients, staffing issues, get advice on PPE and infection control and so on.”

“I got to meet new people, virtually. I got to work with Dipti, a physiotherapist on OSRU who was also shielding. We got to work together on recruiting physiotherapists for the trust. It was a pleasure meeting enthusiastic newly qualified professionals starting their professional journey, most of whom are all now working across the trust.

“We have all become accustomed to Teams meetings although I am not sure if I have attended a virtual meeting yet that does not involve the words ‘we can’t hear you, you’re on mute!’ While this has enabled me to continue to work throughout the year, it does not replace face-to-face contact. I am a social being, I like to see people in the flesh. I have missed the patients and all of my colleagues.

“Having the vaccine means everything to me. It will enable me to get safely back to the job I have loved doing for nearly 30 years.

“I would encourage everyone to get vaccinated when the opportunity arises. It really is a game changer, not only for our patients but for our more vulnerable staff who are missed, and very much needed.”