January 2, 2022 8.00 am This story is over 29 months old

“I would be in hospital without the COVID vaccine”

“I would have spent Christmas in hospital if I hadn’t had the Covid vaccine”

A North Lincolnshire man who is self-isolating with coronavirus said he probably would have spent Christmas in hospital if he had not been vaccinated.

Stuart Clifford, 67, tested positive on Christmas Day as the Omicron wave swept across the region.

He suffered from a shortness of breath but is steadily recovering, and is thankful he was able to get his booster jab.

Stuart is one of hundreds of people to test positive over the festive period.

Although the Omicron strain is believed to be milder, other regions have seen a worrying rise in cases among older age groups.

“I have already had Covid once at the start of the pandemic and had to be taken to hospital in an ambulance,” Stuart, who lives in Ealand, said.

“I first started feeling poorly on Christmas Eve and had a positive lateral flow test on Christmas Day. It was a shortage of breath which felt like something was pressing on my rib cage.

“The next day, I had a PCR test done which confirmed it.

“It was a surprise to catch it again. I think it must be the Omicron variant which is going around.

“I feel lucky I had my two doses and the booster jab back in November – if it wasn’t for that, I would have probably ended up in hospital again.”

Stuart cancelled his Christmas plans to visit family  and has been patiently waiting to leave self-isolation on January 4.

He has been given a device to monitor his blood oxygen saturation levels, and has been impressed by the care he has received.

“A nurse rings three times a day to check on my levels in case I need to go into hospital – luckily they’re going in the right direction,” he said.

“A lot of people criticise the NHS, but they forget how lucky we are to have this wonderful service for free.

“I have been very careful throughout the pandemic as I know how dangerous Covid is to my age group.

“I’ve never stopped wearing a mask in shops or keeping a two metre distance when I meet people outside.

“The self-isolation over Christmas has been horrible, but I’m looking forward to being able to catch up with my family safely in January.”