‘Vaccine saved my life’ says Fife councillor after 11 days in hospital battling COVID

A prominent Fife councillor has pleaded with people to get the Covid-19 vaccine after being convinced the jabs saved his life.
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Craig Walker, who is convener of the region’s education and children’s services sub-committee, has issued the rallying call following a harrowing 11-day stint in hospital battling Covid and pneumonia as his loved ones and friends anxiously waited for news on his condition.

The 50-year-old was already at high risk having received a life-saving kidney transplant in 2019, and had been taking immunosuppressants to lower the chances of his body rejecting the organ.

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Despite shielding and diligently taking extra precautions though, the SNP councillor for Glenrothes West and Kinglassie revealed he was rushed into hospital on October 21 and feared on several occasions over the next week-and-a-half that he might not make it out.

Craig Walker faced a tough 11 days in hospitalCraig Walker faced a tough 11 days in hospital
Craig Walker faced a tough 11 days in hospital

“There’s no doubt in my mind that I’d be dead if I hadn’t had the vaccine,” Mr Walker insisted.

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“The vaccine gave me a fighting chance as someone who is vulnerable, and luckily with treatment I’ve managed to come through it.

“But I can’t understand the mindset of those who willingly aren’t getting the jab - vaccines have been proven to work in a whole host of other areas and I am positive the vaccine saved my life.

On duty: Craig walker with fellow councillor, Julie For,  at the site of the former Tanshall Primary School in 2018On duty: Craig walker with fellow councillor, Julie For,  at the site of the former Tanshall Primary School in 2018
On duty: Craig walker with fellow councillor, Julie For, at the site of the former Tanshall Primary School in 2018

“Covid is not a joke.

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“You know from watching the news that it can be serious, but you don’t really understand it until you get it.

“You only really understand how bad it can be and it’s definitely no fun.”

Mr Walker, whose wife Lynda is pregnant, went into 10 days of isolation after developing flu-like symptoms and receiving a positive PCR result, but he said he went rapidly “downhill” on the final day.

“I’ve no idea how I got it because the kidney transplant meant I’ve had to shield and I’ve been pretty meticulous in terms of watching myself,” he continued.

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“The first part wasn’t too bad actually and just felt like a bad flu initially, but the nearer I got to the end of isolation I started to feel worse and I was eventually wheeched in to hospital after phoning NHS 24.”

Almost a month on, Mr Walker admits he remains “pretty rough” and has not yet returned to full strength, although doctors say that is to be expected.

However, he is adamant that the protection afforded to him by the vaccine ensured he is here today to tell the tale.

“It got a bit hairy in hospital and there were four or five days where things were a bit dodgy and I needed oxygen to support me,” he added.

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“There was talk of having to go to the Covid unit and I was told I was getting close to the point where the use of a ventilator might have been in the equation, and who knows what might have happened?

“I just think that those people who are putting themselves at unnecessary risk need to think again.

“It does save lives because I’m convinced I’m one of those people, and I can’t thank the NHS enough for pulling me through this.”

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