An anti-vaxxer dad-of-three who begged people not to “make the same mistakes” as him after he almost died of Covid has celebrated coming home – by getting jabbed.
Andrew Pugh, 52, initially refused to get the vaccine after being taken in by conspiracy theories he read on Facebook.
The popular binman even bragged about being “a hero” for not being jabbed despite his partner of 20 years’ begging him to take Covid seriously.
Andrew finally realised the severity of the virus when he was struck down with it last month after he started struggling for breath.
He was rushed to Royal Worcestershire Hospital’s intensive care unit on December 5 and his family warned he had a 50/50 chance of survival.
While he was in hospital he posted poignant videos on Facebook describing his battle with the virus.
‘The very first thing I did was have my jab’
After a six-weeks, Andrew has finally returned home to Worcester and said he was thrilled to finally get vaccinated.
He said: “I got released from hospital and the very first thing I did was have my jab.
“It’s a huge relief to have the jab.
“I don’t want anyone else to go through what I have put my family through.
“If I had my time again I would definitely have had the vaccine as soon as it was available.”
Despite being vaccinated, Andrew faces a gruelling road ahead as he battles long Covid.
He added: “Everyday is a struggle - it still takes my breath away.
“Since being home, I have had to learn breathing techniques to help to every day tasks. You have to really calm yourself down.
“Even walking up the stairs is still a massive challenge for me.”
“The doctors did tell me it could around four to six weeks to start feeling better.
“I still have breathing apparatus at home which is a struggle sometimes and I am still constantly coughing.
“That being said, it has being lovely to be back at home. I’ve been able to see my children, grandchildren and family.
“They are spoiling me - taking me out places and really looking after me. It is great to be back with my family.
“I am a father of three and a grandfather of eight so I want to spend as much time with them as possible now.
“We’re planning to go a visit some places with kids and grandchildren, as a family.
“Knowing that you could have lost your life, it puts everything into prospective.
“With this time off, I am going to treasure it.”
‘If it wasn’t for the nurses...I wouldn’t be alive’
Andrew is now determined to use his experience to persuade others to get vaccinated.
He said: “I didn’t get the vaccine, I thought I was being the hero.
“If it wasn’t for the nurses and the fact I’m a non-smoker I wouldn’t be alive.
“My message is simply this: please people get your vaccinations, you don’t want to end up like me.
“When you’re dead and all your family are heartbroken you can’t turn around and say ‘I wish I had the vaccine’.
“This is very real and people need to get their jabs.
“If I can help others to get vaccinated now, that would be great.
“I’ve put my family through sheer hell. I was being so selfish, it’s woken me up.”
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