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Welsh A&E nurse tests positive for coronavirus after second dose of Pfizer vaccine cancelled – North Wales Live

https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/welsh-ae-nurse-tests-positive-19608895

A nurse at one of Wales’ busiest A&E departments has tested positive for coronavirus after his second dose of the vaccine was cancelled earlier this month.

David Longden, who works at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, was among the first to be vaccinated against Covid-19 on December 8 – when the first dose of the Pfizer jab was rolled out.

He was set to receive his second and final dose last Tuesday (January 5) but this was cancelled following a change in guidance which prioritised giving more people the first jab, as reported by WalesOnline.

The UK’s four chief medical officers, along with other experts, advised giving both parts of the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines 12 weeks apart, having initially planned to leave 21 days between the former jabs.

David, 43, subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday (January 8) and is now self-isolating in a garden “log cabin” at his home in Pontypridd, away from his partner Andrew Price.

He said: “The Government needs to protect their frontline NHS staff – to not do so is just short-sighted.

David Longden, 43, a nurse in A&E at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, tested positive for Covid-19 after his second vaccine dose was cancelled
(Image: David Longden)

“I’ve now been taken out of action for several days while the emergency department is slammed with patients. Bridgend is one of the areas of Wales with the highest rates of coronavirus.

“I’m also running the risk of exposing my partner to the virus. He’s diabetic and has lots of other health issues. So to be given that second dose would have given me peace of mind as well as him.”

David said he began feeling unwell last Thursday (January 7) and booked himself a test in Merthyr Tydfil – receiving a positive result for the virus 24 hours later.

He said: “I had a headache and then a horrendous head cold. The day before that I also had a bout of diarrhoea and then just felt really ‘fluey’ and lethargic.

“I became increasingly unwell and had many of the typical Covid symptoms like loss of taste and smell, but thankfully I haven’t had a temperature yet.”

Although surprised by the diagnosis, David suggested it’s because of a reported new strain of the coronavirus – which has been described as ‘more infectious.’

He said: “In the first wave I never tested positive with Covid, and I’m very vigilant with my hand washing as I’ve tried to protect my partner as much as I can. But with this new strain they say it’s 50% more virulent and I think that’s clearly the case.”

His account comes after the British Medical Association (BMA) in Wales wrote to Health Minister Vaughan Gething last week with concerns about the current rollout of the vaccines.

The letter by Dr David Bailey, chairman of the BMA Welsh Council, said that the Pfizer vaccine trial only provided data to support the effectiveness of the two doses six weeks apart.

He also warned that healthcare workers should be given both jabs “at the earliest opportunity” as they were more likely to be exposed to and infected with the virus.

It comes amid reports that the NHS in Wales now has a record number of staff absences, which are said to be largely driven by positive Covid-19 cases and rates of self-isolation.

David added: “I can completely understand the logic to protecting as many people as possible, but I do believe that’s been at the detriment of following the evidence.

“In the first wave, frontline staff were not always protected from the virus due to a lack of PPE. Now I feel the general consensus among staff is that, despite the fact we have a vaccine offering 95% immunity, we are again not being protected fully. It’s a double whammy.”

He said that the coronavirus area of A&E at the Princess of Wales hospital was frequently full, adding that “the workload is relentless” and that he’s “proud and privileged” to be part of such a dedicated team.

In the Welsh Government press conference yesterday (January 11), Mr Gething said the decision to extend the gap between the two doses of the Pfizer vaccine would prevent more deaths.

He said: “Each of the vaccines provide a high level of protection against harm from coronavirus. That’s really good news for all of us.

“The second dose is important because it does have some impact on improving the protection but, in particular, we think it’ll provide longer-term protection as well.

“Think of it in this way: if you have two doses of the vaccine available you could choose to give that to one person to provide them with full excellent protection, or you could decide to give two doses to two different people to provide both of them with high level protection.

“That’s the advice that we’ve received. That means we’ll actually protect more people, avoid more hospitalisation and frankly and honestly, the clear advice I’ve had is that doing things this way will avoid more deaths.”

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