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“It Really Isn’t Too Late” - Local intensivist urges vaccination to reduce risk of hospitalisation


Surgeon Commander Stuart Dickson is an Intensive Care Consultant who works at Derriford Hospital. He also specialises in clinically infectious diseases and has seen the impact of covid first-hand.

At present, the majority of patients within Intensive Care Units across England are not vaccinated and this is a trend that is reflected locally.

Surg Cdr Dickson has taken some time to explain the ongoing impact of covid on intensive care admissions and the important role of the vaccine in reducing risk of hospitalisation: “Some individuals will be unlucky enough in the weeks ahead to need hospitalisation and intensive care as a result of covid infection. We are seeing a dominance of unvaccinated patients within the intensive care environment, both locally and nationally.

“Approximately 61% of patients in Intensive Care with a covid infection nationally are not vaccinated. There have been times in the last month where that rate has been as high as 80% at Derriford Hospital.

“Patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit with covid disease, typically come here with a very severe viral infection affecting the lungs. They generally require assistance with their breathing and in the worst-case scenarios require ventilation. Some of the sicker patients develop multi-organ failure and sadly some of those do die.

“If we look at those in intensive care who are not vaccinated, the majority of those patients do not have any significant chronic disease.”

As part of the interview, Surg Cdr Dickson gave insight on the experiences that patients recount from their hospitalisation: “It is a very difficult journey through intensive care, on arrival patients will see others who are very, very sick with the same disease. Coming into the unit can be a terrifying experience for patients and our staff work hard to reassure them and do a fantastic amount of work to look after them.

“It is not uncommon for unvaccinated patients to develop a sense of regret for the decisions they have made in the past not to be vaccinated. Recovery can be prolonged, going well beyond their time in hospital with rehabilitation over a number of months. Some patients are only now returning to normal activities nearly two years later.”

When asked about the importance of vaccination, Surg Cdr Dickson moved to encourage anyone who is hesitant to reconsider their stance on vaccination: “Vaccination remains the key intervention which reduces the risk of both hospitalisation and admission to the Intensive Care Unit.

“Even if you haven’t been vaccinated at this stage, getting a first vaccination begins to build the immunity that you require. It really isn’t too late, so please reconsider getting that vaccine.

“No one is going to ask about the decision from six months ago not to be vaccinated. We’ll just be very pleased to see you at one of our vaccination clinics to discuss any concerns that you have."

Upcoming Opportunities to get vaccinated at Home Park

Friday, 7 January

09:00-18:00 – Booster . first and second Moderna over 18 year olds

Saturday, 8 January

09:00-14:00 – Booster . first and second Moderna over 18 year olds

Sunday, 9 January

09:00-18:00 – Booster. first/second  Moderna over 18 year olds.

14:00-18:00 – 12-15 year olds first/second 

Monday, 10 January

09:00-14:30 – Booster and Moderna first/second – over 18 only 

Tuesday, 11 January

09:00-18:00 – Booster and Moderna first/second – over 18 only  

Wednesday, 12 January

09:00-15:00 – Booster  

16:00-18:00 – Pfizer first/second , 12-15 year olds ONLY

Thursday, 13 January

09:00-14:30 – Booster and Moderna first/second – over 18 only

The above timetable is for drop-in sessions only. If you want to avoid any disappointment please utilise the National Booking System. Booked appointments, including those for booster jabs, might be booked at different times.

Please note the booster walk ins are not vaccine specific, however second doses have had to communicate specific vaccine.

Further dates for drop-in vaccination clinics at Home Park will be added to the UHP website next week.


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