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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

Staff Vaccination Stories 

I had the vaccine because I would rather take my chances with the vaccine than COVID-19. I saw what was happening on the news - how many people had COVID-19 and how many were dying. I didn't want my family and I to be the next victims. So we decided to have the vaccine. I was a bit sceptical at first but when a couple of my friends had it and they were ok, that motivated me to go for it. Now I'm fully vaccinated and no regrets. 

Michelle Johnson, Widening Participation and Volunteering Adviser at BSMHFT

The reason why I had my COVID-19 vaccination was to protect myself, family, colleagues and service users. I'm feeling so lucky that I had this opportunity as I feel that this is the only way to get us out of this pandemic. The vaccine is not painful and it's safe and I would like to encourage everyone to have the vaccine so we can start to get back to normal and see our family and friends again properly. 

Maciej Waszak - Hayes, Learning and Development Trainer and Administrator at BSMHFT 

I'm pleased to say I have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine! Having the vaccine was important to me as it will protect me and my loved ones. It will also protect those people that choose not to have the vaccination or who are unable to have it. I was scared initially as the vaccinations seemed to come out of nowhere, but I educated myself on the research and the pros and cons and I feel I have made the right choice for me and my family. 

Laura Shine, Medical Secretary at BSMHFT

I had my vaccine to reduce the risk of passing COVID-19 on to others and because I wanted to get back to work to support the elderly and vulnerable adults I care for who have found the pandemic especially challenging. Also, I felt that it was my duty to have the vaccine. Although it was a very small thing for me to do, it does contribute to the much bigger picture of protecting society against the virus. 

Alex Smith, Specialist Clinical Psychologist at BSMHFT

I work in an inpatient area and in April 2020 several of our service users and colleagues had COVID-19. This was a stressful time. I always wanted to have the vaccine, and was happy when the world came together to make this happen; a real positive of the pandemic. As healthcare workers, we have been privileged to access this earlier than the rest of the population. I would encourage anyone still unsure about having the vaccine to access the information available, talk to others and to take advantage of this important tool against COVID-19. 

Dr Nat Rowe, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist and Deputy Medical Director for Quality and Safety at BSMHFT

I decided to take the vaccine as I feel I'm in a privileged position and should take advantage of this; there are people in the local community around my age who are not yet eligible for the jab and have questions about it. By taking the jab I am not only helping myself and my family but I am also re-assuring those in my local community that it is safe and is the way forward to help us to come out of the pandemic. 

Junaid Mahmood, Learning and Development Administrator at BSMHFT

I want to do everything I can do to ensure I don't pass on COVID-19  to anyone. And I hate being ill! I was initially hesitant about the 'new technologies' of those vaccines, but I faith in the regulatory process. I'm also reassured by the number of doses which have been given, and that the vast majority of people have had very mild side effects. A stiff arm and fatigue was a small price to pay, to know that I'm helping to bring the pandemic under control. 

Heather Kelcey, Clinical Pharmacist at BSMHFT

As a nurse and NHS employee, I feel I have a responsibility to protect myself, our service users, colleagues and my loved ones from COVID-19. As a member of the Research and Innovation Team the development of the vaccine has been of particular interest. I am reassured of their safety and efficacy. I am grateful for the Trust's communications and resources that have been made available in response to our questions and concerns. I am thankful to have had the vaccine so soon. 

Louise Hudson, Mental Health Nurse and Project Manager at BSMHFT

I work in the Trust's Research and Innovation Team and have seen how research plays a key role in the health of our communities. Led by our amazing scientists and researchers, research from the UK has helped develop tests, treatments and vaccines to prevent and manage the spread of COVID-19. I am now 'doubly vaccinated' and at both appointments I felt an enormous pride for our scientists and researchers; their tireless work has given me the opportunity to protect myself, my family and friends. 

Katie Williams, Research Governance Manager at BSMHFT

"The vaccination protects me and those around me. If I got sick, I could spread the disease to my children, husband, family and friends but after having it, I feel much safer. I cannot bear to see my loved ones become infected. Even if people think that they are healthy and are not at risk of complications they should get vaccinated as we don't know COVID-19 will affect us. Everyone needs to be vaccinated to stop transmission, keep us safe and allow us to start going back to our normal lives". 

Dr Ebru Heyberi-Tenekeci

Blended and E-Learning Lead at BSMHFT

"I am so happy and relieved to been fully vaccinated. I am a carer for my dad who is elderly and vulnerable and the COVID-19 infection with the restrictions it has generated has been really quite challenging. My dad is in his 80s and has memory issues and continues to forget the importance of things like masks, social distancing and going out in general, so we have had some trying times, but thankfully both he (his age and vulnerability) and I (front line NHS staff) were both in the cohort for vaccines, and have both have had our second jabs. This has released a lot of anxiety and stress and we are looking forward to getting back to our old selves, getting out and about, meeting up with the family again...and hopefully hugging a loved one". 

Tracie Adkins, See Me Worker at BSMHFT

"Having the vaccine was very important to me. I have two young children and I wanted to protect them from COVID-19 and also the service users I care for. I'm conscious that I could have been exposed to COVID-19 and could still be at risk. It's been so hard for our service users as they can't have visitors. It also means that it's likely to be us - the staff - who could pass on the virus to them as no one else comes into contact with them. I wanted to keep myself safe too, so that I can continue to care for my children and the service users on the ward". 

Sefora Matumona, Pre-registered Nurse at BSMHFT

"I had my vaccine. It's important to me as I'm suffering with long covid syndrome and I'm still trying to recover. I'm doing this to protect me, my loved one, my colleagues and friends". 

Len Clifford, Health Care Assistant at BSMHFT

"As colleagues continue to do remarkable work in extraordinary circumstances, a COVID-19 vaccine is essential in keeping ourselves, our patients and communities safe. I took the vaccine as it meant I could guarantee my safety and the safety of my loved ones". 

Rukaiya Bhanji, Senior Clinical Psychiatric Pharmacist at BSMHFT

"I am so proud I've had the COVID-19 vaccine. I know I'm helping to keep myself, my family and work colleagues safe". 

Marie Leadbitter, N.E.P.T Transport Supervisor at BSMHFT

"I firmly believe it's my duty to safeguard and protect my patients, their families, carers, my colleagues and the staff I work with. As a Muslim it is my duty to take all necessary steps in controlling a deadly disease and vaccines are an important part of this."

Dr Farooq Ahmed Khan, Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director at BSMHFT

"My husband is extremely vulnerable and has been shielding since March 2020. For me the vaccine was a route for providing extra safety for my husband. I am also a COVID-19 vaccinator as I feel educating risk groups with diabetes obesity high blood pressure is vital". 

Geetanjlee Griffin, Bank Clinical Pharmacist at BSMHFT

"I had my vaccination to protect myself, my family and my patients. Being BAME I'm more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. I would therefore urge everybody with Black or Asian origin to take the vaccine as soon as you can". 

Dr Mahmoud Saeed, Consultant Psychiatrist at BSMHFT

"I'm the father of six with eight grandchildren. Four of my children are NHS keyworkers and as a NHS governor I'm doing my bit to save lives. I encourage others to also get vaccinated when offered, continue to follow COVID-19 guidelines and playing your part in helping to keep families, colleagues and communities safe."

Mustaq Mirza, Governor at BSMHFT

"The reason I had my vaccine was for the close family members I lost to COVID-19 who did not have the opportunity. 

If we save one life it is worth it."

Sharon Germaine-Cox, Associate Director of Workforce and Organisational Capability at BSMHFT

"I wanted to take the vaccine as my mum is in early 70's and has severe COPD. I am her main carer. I would never forgive myself if I passed it onto her - she wouldn't survive. I feel like I've made a small contribution to the national effort and helped protect those who are more vulnerable than us". 

Emma Randle, Lead Freedom to Speak Up Guardian at BSMHFT

"Initially I was very reluctant to have the vaccine as I had lots of reservations on how the vaccine would affect me as a Black person. I weighed my options, protecting my family with the data available or putting myself and family at risk based on assumptions. The former was the best option as there is enough data to put my mind at ease. I would like to encourage everyone, especially those in Black and Asian communities, to have the vaccine". 

Grace Ukaegbu, Business Analyst at BSMHFT

"Having the vaccination was incredibly important to me. Working on the frontline has been challenging and my amazing colleagues, despite their own anxieties, have continued to show dedication and commitment. I believe the vaccine is the only way of us returning to some sense of normality and reducing the risk of further loss of life". 

Leona Tasab, Nurse Consultant for Physical Health at BSMHFT

"The reasons why I have taken the COVID-19 vaccine is to protect myself and my loved ones that I live with. We all need to take this seriously and do our bit to tackle this virus. I urge all to get vaccinated and protect yourself, protect everyone and protect the NHS". 

Shirazul Islam, IT Systems and Training Implementation Officer at BSMHFT

To me, having my COVID-19 vaccination means:

  • Enjoy jogging again
  • Getting closer to see my elderly family members again
  • The country is on route to getting back to some sort of normality
  • Not having to experience the worst symptoms of coronavirus 

Amerjit Kaur Nijjar, IT Systems and Training Implementation Officer at BSMHFT

"The question of having the vaccine was a no brainer for me. I felt it was important due to several different factors, I am of mixed race origin, I have elderly parents whom I care for, I work in a school and also in a mental health unit. By getting the vaccine I feel that I am protecting myself to the best of my ability especially working in the healthcare sector where I come into contact with COVID-19 frequently". 

Deborah Andrews, Domestic Assistant at BSMHFT

"After I received my COVID-19 vaccine, the nurse said to me this would be my passport to freedom!

I really didn't want it. I heard, and read, so many negative stories, especially about the effect it would have on me and my fellow BAMEs. Well it's not true. I have had it and I am feeling fine. It's my passport to freedom". 

Dennis Mayers, Bank Pharmacist at BSMHFT

"I believe that having my COVID-19 vaccination is important because it will help our country and community get back to a normal way of life. If I can help protect myself, friends, family and colleagues then it is a choice that doesn't take much thinking about". 

Mags Norman, Stores Assistant at BSMHFT

"Although I understand concerns about possible long-term effects some people have, I think the very definite negative impact of COVID on vulnerable people makes me feel I am doing my best to protect them. People like my mum who is in her seventies and lives with me". 

Salma Yaqoob, Engagement Lead at BSMHFT

"I believe that everybody should get their COVID-19 vaccine to prevent it spreading and to be able to keep the world safe so we can go back to normal life". 

Sarah Reisner, Chef at BSMHFT

"I have taken the COVID-19 vaccine to protect myself, my loved ones as well as the National Health Service. Please take the vaccine and let's bring some normality back to our lives and return to seeing our loved ones. We are living in a way not natural to anyone nor expected. Let's change this by accepting the vaccine". 

Zen Ishaque, Deputy Ward Manager at BSMHFT

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Alex Smith
Nat Rowe
Junaid Mahmood
Heather Kelcey
Louise Hudson
Katie Williams
Tracie A
Rukaiya Bhanji
Marie Leadbitter
Dr Farooq Ahmed Khan
Geetanjlee Griffin
Dr Mahmoud