A man who refused the Covid-19 vaccine has urged people to come forward for their jab after he “stared death in the eyes” after contracting the virus.
Abderrahmane Fadil, 60, was left gasping for breath and forced to spend nine days in hospital after being rushed to Bradford Royal Infirmary earlier this month.
We want to hear from you: let us know what you think about this story and be part of the debate in our comments section below
‘Biggest mistake’ of his life
Mr Fadil, who lives with his wife, Khadija, and two young sons in Bradford, West Yorkshire, turned down a Covid-19 vaccine when it was first offered to people aged 60 and over in February this year, and has since described the decision as “the biggest mistake of his life”.
After contracting the virus, he spent nine days on a Covid ward and was struggling to breathe when he arrived in hospital.
He said his two boys, Rayan, 9, and Aryan, 7, were reduced to tears when they video called him on the ward every day, while he tried to offer reassurance he was going to be okay. Although he admitted he was not entirely sure he would recover.
Speaking about the experience, Mr Fadil, said: “When I was brought in, I was gasping for breath and my temperature had soared. I was very frightened.
"My little boys were crying. They have cried every day when ‘FaceTiming’ me.
"I’ve just kept trying to reassure them that daddy won’t die and he’ll be home soon but at times I wasn’t sure.
“I have family in all parts of the world and they were very concerned.
"Some of them travelled to Bradford to see me but of course they were unable to visit. They have all been praying for me.”
Mr Fadil admits that declining his vaccination invite was a huge mistake and is now urging people not to do the same, adding he would now “go to hell and back” to get the jab.
He explained that he was a little hesitant when the invitation came and thought he might get the jab later, having never believed he would contract coronavirus, or that it would make him so ill if he did.
The 60-year-old said he thinks differently now and realises the virus is “not something to be played with”.
He said: “Covid is not something to be played with. It’s not a joke.
"The vaccine is a life-saver for mankind. It’s vital to survive so please do not hesitate to get it as I did.
"Refusing the jab was the biggest mistake of my life. I would go to hell and back now to get the vaccine."
‘It could save your life’
Respiratory consultant Tanveer Khalid was part of the team responsible for Mr Fadil’s care and said the father-of-two has been very lucky to recover.
She explained: “He was extremely poorly when he was admitted and needed life-saving CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy.
“We are so pleased he is now well enough to be back at home but I hope people will listen to his message.
"The majority of very sick Covid patients we have on our wards are here because they have refused the vaccine.
“We have other poorly patients on the wards who have had their Covid vaccine, but they have been brought into hospital due to other conditions and it is those other conditions making them ill, not Covid.
"This proves the vaccines are working. I’m appealing to everyone; anyone over 18 can now get the jab. Please go and get it. It could save your life.”
Mr Fadil, who is originally from Casablanca, Morocco, expects to be recovering from coronavirus for many weeks to come and has thanked NHS staff for saving his life.
He added: “I could not have wished for a better place for my care. I cannot thank staff enough.
"They have done everything for me. They have literally saved my life. There are not enough words to express my gratitude.”
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.