After almost a month in hospital, Sarah MacDougall knows all too well the lasting impact of Covid.
The cook was one of the first people in the Highlands admitted to hospital with the virus in 2020, and was put into a medically-induced coma.
She was in hospital for 22 days, spending time in both intensive care and the high dependency unit.
Three years on, Mrs MacDougall is still battling health conditions as a result.
As well as long Covid, Mrs Dougall has recently been told she now has an enlarged heart – which doctors have said is not hereditary.
Covid ‘completely changed my life’
As cases of Covid slowly creep up again, and we come into cold and flu season, Mrs MacDougall is calling on people to get the booster jag if eligible – and to consider the shocking, lasting impact the virus can have.
She said: “I understand that some people cannot have the Covid vaccination, and that is fine. But everyone should consider having the booster when it is offered to them.
“Covid has completely changed my life. I was made medically unfit for work and I have now retired, I struggle to walk for long distances.”
Mrs MacDougall, 46, from Blarmore Avenue, Inverness, was medically retired from the NHS and now volunteers at the city’s MacKenzie Centre in Inverness, where she is keen to talk to anyone suffering from long Covid.
“It is not until people see me that they realise what the impact is. People are genuinely shocked.
“I can have three or four fairly good weeks and then boom there is a new health problem.
“I just want to remind people of the impact of the virus, and that it is real and it is life-changing.”
“I am begging people to get the Covid booster. It can and will save their life.”
Vaccination programme brought forward
It comes as Professor Devi Sridhar, chairwoman of global public health at Edinburgh University, said the vaccination programme should be extended so people of any age can get a booster if they want one.
At present Covid-19 jabs are not available to buy in the UK.
Only over 65s and people who are clinically at risk are able to get a vaccine through the official vaccination programme.
Details of the winter Covid booster programme can be found on the Public Health Scotland web pages.