A disabled former oil rigger who almost died from COVID-19 has now been protected from the disease, thanks to the vaccinations at home service in Lancashire.
Peter Rigby, 61, spent weeks in intensive care having caught the disease last autumn. He has now received a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine from the comfort of his living room.
The NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria has launched the vaccinations at home service as it looks to offer a jab to as many people as possible across the region.
“But then when the new variant came round in October I got it again. Everything ached and for a week I couldn’t eat, I just had the odd sip of water.
“I ended up calling an ambulance and was in ICU at Royal Preston Hospital for four-and-a-half weeks.”
The grandfather-of-three, who is in a wheelchair having lost his leg due to a blood clot eight years ago, was seriously ill in hospital and suffered delirium and hallucinations while hospital staff worked hard to keep him alive.
He said: “On one occasion I thought the nurse was trying to steal my credit card it was that bad. I was so ill I just didn’t know where I was or what was going on.”
During his time in hospital, his oxygen levels were so low he was required to wear a special hood device called a high flow oxygen delivery system at all times, except for when he was eating or drinking.
He said: “I was told it was fifty-fifty whether I would survive.”
Thankfully, Mr Rigby made a full recovery, and once he was discharged from hospital, he reconsidered his decision not to have a vaccine.
He said: “I decided at this point that I really didn’t want to have COVID-19 again. But I didn’t know if I could get a vaccine after just having the disease or how long I would have to wait. I rang up to see what I could do and they told me I could have the vaccine at home, which was really good.
“To leave the house I have to put on my prosthetic leg, and because I have been ill I have lost weight so it doesn’t fit properly at the moment and so it can become very painful. I was worried I would have to go and stand in a queue somewhere, and who knows? I may not have ended up going to my appointment.
“So to be able to have someone come to the house to give me the vaccine was a life-saver. They told me they couldn’t give me a specific appointment on the phone. Someone would call round in the next couple of weeks.
“They came, did the injection, sat with me for a few minutes to check I was okay, and then off they went. It was so quick and easy. It really is a fantastic service. And if it didn’t exist, I may not have got a vaccine at all.”
Jane Scattergood, chief nurse and senior responsible officer for Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “Peter’s story just goes to show how important it is for people to get vaccinated. And for us to now be able to offer vaccines to people in their home means it is more accessible than ever.
“We have set up this new service to open up the availability of vaccines to yet more people across our area.
“There are still people out there who have not come forward for a COVID-19 vaccine or a booster, and we know for some people this is because they do not want to leave their house.
“It is essential everyone has access to a vaccine, no matter where they are, and I would implore people across Lancashire and South Cumbria to get their vaccine.
“If you need us to come to you, we will.”
In order to book a vaccine at home, visit www.healthierlsc.co.uk/vacathome or call 0300 7906856 between 10am and 8pm, Monday to Sunday.
For more information on the vaccination programme in Lancashire and South Cumbria, visit www.healthierlsc.co.uk/getmyjab