Home News Community Intensive care nurse in London becomes first known Laois person to receive...

Intensive care nurse in London becomes first known Laois person to receive Covid-19 vaccine

“This will be the way we get society back to normal, our businesses back up and running, our GAA back on the field, our elderly out of their homes, and more importantly protect the ‘at risk’ population of Ireland, and the world, from contracting this absolutely horrible and devastating virus.”

So says an ICU Resuscitation nurse working in a London hospital who has become the first known Laois person to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

Ronan Ging, who is originally from Portlaoise, works as a Senior Resuscitation Officer in Kings College in London.

Ronan is the son of John Ging Snr (RIP) and Phyllis Ging – and he has six siblings. He grew up on the Mountrath road in Portlaoise and attended Portlaoise CBS in Towerhill.

In 2006, Mr Ging, after just falling short of getting the required points in his Leaving Cert, moved to Scotland to study nursing.

It would be due to this decision that he would qualify in 2009 before going on to travel the world working as a nurse – at sea, aboard sailing ships, on land in hospitals at festivals and in the sky aboard military aircraft.

His nursing career would also lead him to specialise as an ICU Nurse, go into an education role, and specialise again, in Resuscitation.

This would all ultimately see Ronan work on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic, in ICU’s across London and educating others in how to work and function in an ICU environment.

As a result of this, Ronan was chosen as one of the first people in the world to received the vaccine last week – on December 8.

Speaking to LaoisToday, Ronan opened up on what the experience of taking the vaccine was like and encouraged others to do the same when they are presented with the opportunity.

He said: “I was one of the first people in the world to have received the vaccine and I feel great.

“The vaccine is administered via a standard small intramuscular needle, which you can barely even feel.

“Following administration, I was asked to wait for 15 minutes before returning to the ward to work, very simple.

“And after that I literally just went back into work. I had no side effects but from any medication you take, there is of course side effects.

“There were two cases of people have severe allergic reactions to the vaccine and this was exploited by the media and sensationalised.

“Most people who had a reaction had a rash which is normal. But if it did get to the stage where there was a real problem, we have a treatment for that too.

“This vaccine has been presented to a board of scientists, real scientists, who have picked that apart to ensure that it is all good. With science, the beauty is it is either yes or no – it is either good or bad.

“I would urge everyone, that when your time has come, and you are called, go and have your vaccine.

“I will go back after 20 days to have another injection and 10 days after that, I will be fully immune. What I have currently will build up some immunity and the top up will bring me to 100% immunity.

“This will be the way we get society’s back to normal, our businesses back up and running, our GAA back on the field, our elderly out of their homes, and more importantly protect the ‘at risk’ population of Ireland, and the world, from contracting this absolutely horrible and devastating virus.”

Ronan Ging

Ronan says that he believes there is a lot of mis-information floating about in relation to this vaccine and its safety.

He urged people to listen to qualified health professionals and stressed the importance of achieving ‘herd immunity by getting as many people as possible vaccinated.

He said: “Working in the pandemic, throughout the year, I have noted so many rumours and so much mis-information spread in relation to the virus, a lot of which stemmed from our lack of knowledge about covid-19.

“Our knowledge of the disease has now grown dramatically and it continues to grow by the day. The one piece of absolute certainty, from day one, was that a vaccine can cure this problem, and we have been waiting for that vaccine since February.

“These vaccines have been created by the scientific community and ratified by their most harsh critiques to ensure that they are fit for purpose, and they are.

“The time is just around the corner for Ireland to get it’s own vaccine programme and I want you to be safe in the knowledge that this is the right thing. When it comes to your turn, go and get it.

“As a healthcare professional I regularly give people advise on what not, and what to, do. The information that we give to patients must be evidence based, based on the best scientific evidence available.

“With that in mind, and having 11 years’ experience as a nurse, and having looked after so many unwell patients with Covid-9, my advice is, get yourself vaccinated.

“This will prevent the vast majority of the nation acquiring the disease. This advice may be daunting for some, and if that is you, I would advise you to go an read up on the vaccine, look at what good vaccines have done for the world, of late.

“Once 70% percent of the population has been vaccinated, we then get ‘herd immunity’, which means the majority of the population can’t get it Covid, so they in turn protect the other 30% of the population.

“If 100% of people get the vaccine, we eradicate the disease, we should aim for the latter. A swift role out of the vaccine will absolutely contribute to thousands of lives being saved in Ireland.”

Ronan Ging

The last 10 months have been extremely challenging for everyone – but none more so than people like Ronan who have been battling this pandemic on the frontline.

He explained what that has been like: “Having worked in ICU for a number of years, I am accustomed to dealing with traumas, bad luck, medical emergencies, major incidents, terrorist attacks, adrenaline filled nightshifts with extremely unwell patients, and patients that are actively dying as we claw them back from the brink, to health.

“I am used to dealing with death. I am also used to dealing euphoria when you inform patients of good news.

“What I was not used to dealing with, was COVID-19, and neither were any of my colleagues.

“At the height of the pandemic I would find myself working in hot sweaty PPE, surrounded by vast amounts of machines, looking after ventilated patients in induced coma’s and multi organ failure on ICUs where all of the patients had the one illness, Covid.

“I had never seen ICUs where every single patient had the same illness, some young, some old, all Covid.

“We have come a long way since March, our ICUs are no longer filled solely with Covid 19 patients, they are populated with sick people but with varying illnesses, they may seem odd, but that is a good thing.

“This is as a result of nations, across the world, wearing face masks, exercising good hand hygiene and social distancing.

“These practices must continue for now, to ensure our hospitals do not become overwhelmed. Working throughout this Pandemic has been scary, exciting, confusing at times, tiring but most of all, a privilege.

“I take pride in possessing the skills that allow me to nurse critically unwell patients. I enjoy looking after people, calming them down, and giving them the best care that they deserve.

“I measure that care off of the care I would expect my family to have if they were in Hospital.”

Ronan Ging receiving the Covid-19 vaccine

It looks like it will be the middle of 2021 before the majority of us will be vaccinated.

So in the meantime, Ronan has a very simple message for everyone.

He said: “Stay washing your hands, maintain social distancing and wear a face covering over your mouth and nose.”

SEE ALSO – Boost for residents of one Laois nursing home as Covid-proof visiting booth installed

Previous articleDepartment of Health confirm total number of Covid-19 related deaths in Laois since March
Next articleDeep sadness following tragic passing of young Portarlington dad
Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.