'Covid is not a joke' – Intensive care survivor urges BAME communities to get vaccine

A man in hospital on oxygen after Covid-19

Covid-19 survivor Philip Kudjoe was in an induced coma and on a ventilator with for three weeks last March at Basildon Hospital - Credit: Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust

A single parent, who was in an induced coma for 30 days from Covid-19, is urging others from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to get the vaccine.

Doctors at Basildon Hospital were worried that Philip Kudjoe, who was on a ventilator with 80% oxygen for three weeks last March, would not recover. 

The 36-year-old has now made a full recovery after learning to walk with physiotherapy and is now back with his eight-year-old Kyra. 

Speaking from his home in Basildon, he had a message for those in the BAME community still hesitant about the vaccine. 

Man getting Covid-19 vaccine in arm

Basildon's Philip getting the Covid-19 vaccine thanks to the NHS - Credit: Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Philip said: “Covid is not a joke - it’s literally life and death. I’ve had the vaccine myself and I would encourage everyone to have the jab and to protect themselves, their loved ones and everyone else.”

In March, he initially just self-isolated, on his GP's advice, but his symptoms soon got worse. His brother was shocked by how breathless Philip has become, and called an ambulance.

He thanked his brother, Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, and Kyra, as well as friends and family for their support during that difficult time. 

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“I can’t thank all the nurses and doctors at the Critical Care Unit (CCU) at Basildon Hospital that helped me on my road to recovery enough – I’m so grateful for their fantastic care."

Father and daughter

Philip with his daughter Kyra - Credit: Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Kyra said: “I really missed my dad while he was in hospital. Nan and granddad said he would get well - but I was worried. I want to thank everyone who helped make him better.”

His renal consultant, Poorva Jain, has helped to manage Philip’s kidney condition for the last few years. She was the first familiar face that Philip saw after waking up from his induced coma.

Philip said: “Seeing Poorva after coming out of a coma made me feel safe and I knew I was alive, well and would be going back home to my daughter.”

Poorva said she had been in tears when she saw him in a critical condition.

She said: “When I was told he had Covid I was very worried, as I see him every month when he attends my clinic and he always brings his daughter Kyra along, who is such a delight - we’ve built such a strong rapport over the years.

"I’m just so happy he has pulled through and is doing well.”