Speaking from his hospital bed, where he now only breathes with the aid of an oxygen mask, Andrew Pugh said he now “wishes he’d had the vaccine” after he was struck down with Covid before Christmas.
The 52-year-old was so ill that his family were told that he had a 50/50 chance of surviving after he was rushed into intensive care. Speaking from Worcestershire Royal Hospital, where he is now being treated, Mr Pugh said: “I didn’t get the vaccine, I thought I was being the hero.”
Mr Pugh, who works as a binman, has now been moved onto a ward but remains on oxygen as he continues to recover from long Covid. He has been in hospital since 5 December and was only allowed one visitor to spend an hour with him on Christmas Day.
He said: “If it wasn’t for the nurses and the fact I’m a non-smoker I wouldn’t be alive - they saved my life. I want to say thank you to the staff in the ICU for giving me my second chance, it has been hard and it still is.”
He urged people to “please get your vaccinations” and warned: “You don’t want to end up like me.”
The father of three said: “When you’re dead and all your family are heartbroken you can’t turn around and say ‘I wish I had the vaccine’. This is very real and people need to get their jabs.”
His niece, Sophie Pugh, has organised a collection for the staff on the ICU as a thank you. She said: “We managed 16 bags, three boxes, bottles of water and juice plus a few vouchers.
“All of it has been donated to the intensive care unit currently caring for Andrew, they potentially saved his life.
“To say they were shocked was an understatement, thank you to every single person that helped make this happen.”
The latest data from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre showed that 61 per cent of patients admitted to critical care in December with Covid were unvaccinated.
The proportion of unvaccinated patients in intensive care varied by region, with the highest rates - 66 per cent - recorded in London, the south west and the north west.
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