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Student’s vaccine plea after Covid ordeal

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Published on 20 August 2021

Petr Vlcek
Petr Vlcek

Sunderland student Petr Vlcek is urging everyone to get vaccinated after Covid-19 left him ill for more than month.

The 24-year-old contracted the virus back in his home country, Czechia, in March this year, and says the infection impacted on his health as he suffered an extremely high fever, cold-like symptoms, and pains throughout his body.

The experience has also made him a major advocate for vaccinations. As he begins the third year of his Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree this Autumn at the University of Sunderland, he is encouraging everyone around him to get the jab as the best defense against Covid-19.

Petr, a School Co-ordinator for the University’s School of Engineering, says: “Getting a vaccine means you are less likely to become ill and have less chance of spreading the virus to others.

“Back in March I was sick for more than a month and tested positive on a PCR test. I was suffering from a high fever, around 39C-40C, with cold-like symptoms, and pains across my entire body. My skin felt like it was being bitten by a billion ants any time I moved. I also had difficulty breathing, it felt as if someone was kneeling on my chest all the time.”

Thankfully Petr recovered and did not need to be hospitalised, but still has symptoms of his infection, including shortness of breath and coughing.

Petr was offered the Pfizer vaccine through an event organised by the company where he was in placement in the Czech Republic, and he did not hesitate to take up the offer.

“Of course, there has been more than enough news going around about the side effects of the vaccine, but after reading a little bit about the risks, I was reassured by the statistics and also the positive experiences of others around me.

“My feelings after the jab were just neutral, I was just kind of happy I was done with it and surprised by the number of people that came as well.

“I didn’t have any side effects from the vaccine, maybe just slight muscle soreness in the area of the jab.”

Now, Petr is looking forward to returning to Sunderland and taking up his new role as School Coordinator, and strongly believes that getting vaccinated is the right thing to do for you, your family and friends.

“My advice would be to just do it. There is very little risk involved. Personally, I know no one who had any side effects after their vaccination. The worst I have heard was a slight tiredness from some people for about a day or two.

“And trust me, the little pinch you feel from the needle is so much easier to handle than being bedridden for weeks. And of course, we all want our lives to go back to normal soon, we all want to be able to attend our lectures fully and keep on partying, going to the pubs, having fun without further restrictions, and we need YOU to do your part to achieve that.

“Of course, we have those among us that are unable to get their jab even if they wanted to, due to medical concerns. We, as a community, need to protect those with compromised immune systems.

“All it will cost you is an hour of your life, enduring a tiny little needle and trusting those educated in the matter of virology and medical science instead of Facebook posts and Wikipedia articles.”

To book an appointment for a vaccination, find the nearest locations to you via www.nhs.uk or your local CCG (for Sunderland CCG click here).

Vaccine take up is lower among younger age groups. Please note that:

  • Students do not need to be registered with a GP to get the vaccine – although they are encouraged to register. Students can ask to book appointments as an unregistered patient through a local GP practice.
  • All international students in the UK are eligible to get the vaccination. They do not need to pay.

Find out more about COVID vaccinations on the NHS website.