'Stay safe' warning as Doncaster granddad dies with Covid nearly two weeks after being vaccinated
A devastated Doncaster businessman has warned of the dangers still presented by Covid 19 after his dad died with the illness nearly three weeks after his first vaccine jab.
Colin Horseman was one of the first people in Doncaster to receive the vaccine when he had his first injection on December 16.
But the 85-year-old from Hexthorpe caught coronavirus after being admitted to Doncaster Royal Infirmary because of an unrelated illness and died on Tuesday, January 6 after having been placed on a ventilator.
His son, Simon, a Doncaster businessman from Finningley, said people needed to be aware of the dangers still presented by the virus, and warned people who are breaking the current lockdown to think again and stick to the rules.
Simon said he was sceptical about how much risk the virus presented and the need for a lockdown until he lost his dad. Now he has changed his mind and says he has been concerned to hear reports of groups gathering during the current lockdown.
He said: “After what I have seen, I think it's really important that people still follow the rules. That message needs to get through to people who are not social distancing.
"I was not allowed into the ward where he was on a ventilator. If I could, I would have been there holding his hand. People need to know how terrible this is.”
He is also urging people to take the vaccine, which came too late to save his dad.
"I think it's really important that people go and get their vaccines, if we’re going to get this virus to fade away,” he said.
Colin, originally from Hartlepool, moved to Doncaster to be a plate welder at Armthorpe Colliery.
As a young man he had served with the Royal Artillery in the Far East during the 1950s, during the Malayan Emergency.
He had been fit and active and was a regional weightlifting champion in the 1960s.
He had remained fit in his retirement and was well known at the Doncaster Trades and Labour Club until it closed, and more recently at the Doncaster Catholic Club.
A widower for 10 years after losing his wife, Marie, he had lived in a bungalow in Hexthorpe.
Simon had been checking on his dad each day since March. Three weeks ago Colin started to lose his memory, and was struggling to walk. It was believed to be due to a kidney infection, and he was taken into Doncaster Royal Infirmary.
But he was diagnosed with Covid 19 while he was in the hospital.
Simon said: “He was vaccinated on December 16, and was originally due to have the second jab on January 4. They said he’d got Covid on the Friday. Saturday and Sunday he was very poorly, although he freshened up a bit on the Monday. I think it may have been because it was his granddaughter’s birthday.
"I was so surprised. I didn’t think it would get my dad as he was always so strong. When he went in we thought he’d be all right because he’d had his first jab.
"He was on Kingfisher ward. You hear about conspiracy theorists saying the hospitals are empty – it certainly was not empty.
"I have nothing but praise for the hospital – the doctors and nurses were great and they kept me informed throughout. They couldn’t have been better and kept apologising that I could not see him.
"It was so hard not being able to see him.”
He says he still has faith in the vaccination programme and believes his father would have survived if he had been immunised earlier, so his body would have already built up more protection.
Dr Rupert Suckling, Doncaster’s director of public health, said vaccines usually took around two weeks to build up immunity, although each vaccine was slightly different and one dose would result in 70 to 85 per cent effectiveness in two weeks.
He said even after they have been vaccinated, people still need to follow guidelines.
He said: “My understanding of the evidence is that vaccination will prevent the severest impacts of COVID, but there’s insufficient evidence yet if the vaccine interrupts transmission.
“That’s why even after people are vaccinated they still need to do ‘hands, face and space’.”
Dr David Crichton, GP and chairman of Doncaster NHS Clinical Commissioning Group said the efficacy after the first injection varied from person to person depending on age, general health and ability to produce antibodies.
He said: “This is a good level as vaccines go and I would ask everyone who is invited to seriously think about receiving the vaccine. It will never give 100 per cent protection which is why we always advise that it is 'as well as' not 'instead of' other measures. I reiterate that people still need to follow social distancing and the current lockdown requirements even having had their vaccine.
"We are working our way down the list of eligible individuals and contacting people as soon as the vaccine is made available.”
Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Teaching Foundation Trust said that it currently had 115 patients receiving care for the coronavirus at its three hospital sites, which are Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Montagu Hospital in Mexborough, and Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop
A total of 85 of those were at the DRI, and 10 were at the Montagu.
Of those, 21 were in intensive care units.
There have been more than 580 deaths in Doncaster since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, while more than 1,500 patients have been successfully allowed home after treatment.
Vaccinations started in Doncaster on December 15, when Anne Duggan, aged 85, from Town Moor, become the first person in Doncaster to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at a newly set-up GP hub.
This week, experts said research suggests that the jab appeared to protect against mutant strains of the virus that are currently causing rapid spread across the UK.