A trainee psychiatrist recently named as Foundation Doctor of the Year, is one of the first front line staff at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust to have had their Covid-19 vaccination.
Dr Max Taquet, who cares for vulnerable older adults on a mental health ward at the Fulbrook Centre, Oxford, paid tribute to his NHS colleagues at the nearby Churchill Hospital who gave him the vital inoculation on Thursday – day three of vaccinations.
But he has also thanked all those who took part in vaccine trials to make the biggest NHS immunisation programme in history a reality.
“Forty thousand people have had this vaccine before me: all those who took part in the trial. They are the real heroes. It is thanks to them that we know the vaccine is safe. Knowing that 40,000 people have had it safely is very reassuring,” he says.
Admitting he is fortunate to receive the vaccine so early on he explained: “I and my colleagues work with vulnerable people at the Sandford ward and we have many people willing to have the vaccine. So, I was very lucky to be selected.”
The vaccination itself was very straightforward.
“It’s very similar to having the flu jab. You give consent, the risks and benefits are clearly explained and the jab takes five seconds. Then you’ll get the booster three weeks later,” Dr Taquet says.
Dr Taquet notes that people are free to make up their mind about having the vaccine, but his choice was easy: “There is a lot of evidence that the vaccine is safe and effective, and on the other hand a huge amount of evidence that Covid can be a dangerous disease that can cause strokes and blood clots and might lead to critical care and even death.
“So, there are very good reasons to have the vaccine.”
Dr Taquet is a core trainee at Oxford Health and Academic Clinical Fellow within the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford.
Earlier this autumn he was awarded the Royal College of Psychiatrists Foundation Doctor of the Year award and has done all his medical placements at Oxford Health. Accepting his award he wanted to highlight “what an excellent training environment Oxford Health is.”
He is also one of the authors of a study into associations of COVID-19 and psychiatric disorder. The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, used electronic health records of 69 million people in the USA, including over 62,000 cases of COVID-19. One of the key findings of the research was that almost 1 in 5 people diagnosed with COVID-19 receive a psychiatric diagnosis within the next three months.