A Portlaoise native who works as a nurse on the Covid-19 frontline has urged the people of Laois to get vaccinated after being one of the first health workers in the UK to get the jab.
Ronan Ging, from the Mountrath Road in Portlaoise, is a son of the late John Ging Snr and Phyllis Ging.
Ronan works as an intensive care unit nurse in the UK and has seen the damage the virus has wrought. He was one of the first nurses in the UK to be vaccinated with the Pfizer BioNtech jab which was approved for use in Ireland this week.
Ronan spoke about his experience this week in the Leinster Express. The reason he got in contact with his local paper was to urge people in his native county not to hesitate when it comes to vaccination.
“As a healthcare professional, I regularly give people advice on what not, and what to, do. The information that we give to patients must be evidence-based, based on the best scientific evidence available.
“With that in mind, and having 11 years’ experience as a nurse, and having looked after so many unwell patients with Covid-19, my advice is, get yourself vaccinated. This will prevent the vast majority of the nation acquiring the disease," he said.
Ronan, who can't come home for Christmas due to the lockdown in London and most of England, says he understands that some people may have a difficulty.
“This advice may be daunting for some, and if that is you, I would advise you to go and read up on the vaccine, look at what good vaccines have done for the world, of late. Once 70% of the population has been vaccinated, we then get 'herd immunity', which means the majority of the population can’t get Covid, so they, in turn, protect the other 30% of the population. If 100% of people get the vaccine, we eradicate the disease, we should aim for the latter! A swift roll-out of the vaccine will absolutely contribute to thousands of lives being saved in Ireland.
“I was one of the first people in the world to have received the vaccine and I feel great! The vaccine is administered via a standard small intramuscular needle, which you can barely even feel. Following administration, I was asked to wait for 15 minutes before returning to the ward to work, very simple. Whilst getting my jab I noted I was surrounded by all of my colleagues also received the vaccine, they were nurses, doctors, porters, domestics, physios etc.
“I would urge everyone, that when your time has come, and you are called, go and have your vaccine. This will be the way we get societies back to normal, our businesses back up and running, our GAA back on the field, our elderly out of their homes, and more importantly protect the ‘at risk’ population of Ireland, and the world, from contracting this absolutely horrible and devastating virus,” he says.
His message: “Stay washing your hands, maintain social distancing and wear a face covering over your mouth and nose”.
Ireland is due to begin vaccinating people in December after the European Medicines Agency approved the Pfizer BioNTech jab for use across Europe.
People living in long-term residential care and frontline health workers will be the first to be vaccinated.
Read also: EUROPEAN MEDICINES AGENCY VACCINE Q&A