Aidrous Yusuf is a junior clinical fellow in the urology department at Royal London Hospital. Here, he explains why he got his Covid-19 vaccine and why he hopes others will have it too.
“I’ve been working at the Royal London since February 2019. Since the pandemic started, I’ve been looking after Coivd-19 positive and Covid-19 negative patients. It’s been a challenging situation for me and my colleagues, because it’s not a situation we were prepared for. But we have rallied together and learned a lot in the first wave which has helped us during the second wave.
“Half of my team have been redeployed to work in other areas of the hospital. This means that I, along with the remaining team members, have to fill the gap left by these individuals. Before the pandemic I would be looking after 5 to 10 patients a day. Now, I look after many more patients.
“I’m also helping out in other departments, like surgery, who have had junior doctors redeployed. Everyone is taking on additional jobs on top of our usual responsibility. It can be very tiring and take its toll on you physically and mentally, but I do it because I want to help – both my colleagues and the patients who come to our hospital.
“For all of these reasons – the number of patients with Covid-19 in our hospitals, the mental and physical strain on staff and the fact that many of us can’t see our loved ones – I got my Covid-19 vaccine as soon as I was offered it.
“I got the vaccine to protect myself and in turn, protect my friends, family and the community that I live in. But perhaps most importantly, I got it to protect the many vulnerable patients, including cancer patients, that I deal with on a daily basis. I don’t want to be responsible for making anyone ill.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there about the Covid-19 vaccine. I know many people, including some colleagues, friends and members of the Somali community, have concerns that the vaccines can cause infertility. And people are worried that the vaccines were made too fast and so they can’ be safe.
“But then I speak to these people and tell them that I’ve had the vaccine and that I’m completely fine, which reassures them. I explain that I had my vaccine in the morning when I finished a nightshift and was back on the wards that evening for my next shift! Telling them this and having open and honest conversations has made some people who were nervous about getting the vaccine feel more confident about getting it, and many of them have now had it which I’m glad about.
“Whether or not you get a vaccine is your own choice, but it’s important to make this decision based on solid evidence and accurate information from trusted sources. That’s why when I speak to anyone who has concerns about getting a vaccine, I suggest they read information from sources like the NHS and Public Health England, rather than believing everything that’s on social media.
“I also explain that even though the vaccines were produced quickly, all of the relevant and necessary safety checks were still carried out, so we know they are safe. And that there is no evidence at all that these vaccines affect fertility in women or men.
“No matter who you are or what community you’re from, when you see someone like you, someone from that same community, someone you trust, doing something, it offers reassurance. That’s why I want to share my positive experience of getting a Covid-19 vaccine with everyone, but particularly members of the Somali community.
“We all know someone who has had Covid-19. And sadly many of us know someone who has died from it. By getting a Covid-19 vaccine, you can protect yourself, your family, friends and our wider community. You can help save lives.”