'He would be proud' - Son of Covid victim now working in jab centre

Alex Shawki who is a steward at the Norwich vaccine centre at City Hall, whose father died from Covi

Alex Shawki who is a steward at the Norwich vaccine centre at City Hall, whose father died from Covid. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

Just four days after Roy Shawki died from Covid on March 11, 2021, his letter arrived at his family home telling him his turn had arrived to receive his jab.

The 55-year-old from Bungay was in good health before testing positive for the virus on January 26 that year and was admitted to hospital on February 5. This was the last time his son Alex saw him alive.

Now, the 19-year-old is working as a steward at the new vaccine centre at City Hall in Norwich hoping to help as many others avoid the same fate as his father as possible.

He said: "What happened to my dad hit me on a really personal level which really gives me something to draw upon when I'm trying to reassure people that come to the centre for advice.

"The other day, an anti-vaxxer was walking past the centre and we got talking. I spoke to him about everything we know about the vaccine and we got talking about what had happened to my dad. He then went for his first-ever vaccination.

"My family is very health orientated - my mother is a paramedic, so I do think I would still be doing this regardless of what happened to my dad, but it does motivate me.

"My message would be that if you are feeling anxious or nervous about getting your jab, be extremely careful about which sources you use to research and come and speak to us. Nobody likes getting needles, there are lots of people with phobias but if you want to survive this pandemic - get one. It is two seconds of pain but goes such a long way.

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"I have seen personally how devastating it can be - it was for my family and I would not wish it on anybody.

"I think my dad would be incredibly proud of what I am doing."

The teenager is hoping his own experiences of the virus will also encourage others to come forward for their jab - having tested positive himself on the same day as his late father.

He said: "I had the shakes throughout my body and was coughing so much that I lost my voice - it was not pleasant at all."