A NURSE at Colchester Hospital has recounted how he feared he would die after he caught Covid-19.

Over the past year Jaypee Palis has witnessed and experienced first-hand the emotional extremes caused by the Covid pandemic.

Similar to his colleagues, he has felt the pain of losing patients and feared losing his own life when he contracted Covid.

However, he was recently felt the sense of hope brought about by the coronavirus vaccination programme.

He said: “I’ve seen it from all sides – I’ve been the patient, I’ve been the nurse.

“Then as a vaccinator I’ve seen the glimpse of hope that’s given everyone.”

Jaypee, who turns 28 this week, settled in the UK four years ago after moving from the Philippines to join the NHS.

As a deputy charge nurse, he cared for some of the first patients with coronavirus on the care of the elderly ward where he was based at the beginning of the pandemic.

But last March Jaypee contracted the virus himself and was so severely ill, he was taken to Colchester Hospital by ambulance and admitted as an inpatient.

It was an especially challenging time for him as it came within weeks of the death of his father who had been receiving treatment for cancer in the Philippines.

“It was horrendous,” he said.

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

“Having Covid was challenging and, to be honest, at that time it was really hard. I can’t explain how I was feeling. I kept on telling my family not to cry.

“No-one could visit, they were away from me in the Philippines, so the only people who could help were the staff and the people I live with who are also my colleagues – they really supported me.”

Jaypee spent five days in hospital and it was during that time he was told he may need treatment in the critical care unit if his condition did not improve.

“It was the most horrendous news I have had in my life,” he said.

“I can’t explain how frightened I was, but all of the staff were so helpful and kept trying to find a way to help me get better.”

He was unwell with the symptoms of the virus for nearly two weeks and is still coping with the emotional effects of it now, but after such a traumatic few months the real turnaround came for Jaypee when he played his part in the biggest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS.

His time and pivotal role in the vaccination hub at Colchester Hospital, which is run by East Suffolk and North Essex Trust (ESNEFT), has helped to him secure a new job.

After starting out on additional bank shifts, his commitment shone through and he became one of the vaccine hub co-ordinators. It was his work in that role which then opened a new door for Jaypee.

This week he’s joined the outpatient team as a charge nurse based in main outpatients at Colchester Hospital.

He said: “Being in the vaccination hub has given me so many opportunities and it’s made me see that I’ve got organisation and management skills I never knew I had. I’m typically shy, but I have become assertive and professionally active with everything.

“It’s been really fun working in the vaccine hub and I feel like I have experienced the real essence of the job. The teamwork has been superb and the support from everyone has been amazing. We have to trust the vaccine.”

The trust’s vaccination hubs at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals have now closed after giving more than 74,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine to vulnerable members of the community in north Essex and east Suffolk, as well as thousands of health and social care professionals too.

Chief executive of the trust Nick Hulme said: “I vividly remember that first day in the vaccine hubs and the incredible sense of optimism we all felt as we gave the jab to the first patient. It’s difficult to describe the sense of pride everyone must feel having given more than 74,000 vaccines since that first patient.”