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Nightmare Covid survivor (41) who was in ICU for six days believes vaccine saved his life

"I was so auto-immune compromised that I am sure it was the vaccine that saved my life"


Aaron Callan, who is recovering from Covid, can only walk with oxygen for just minutes at a time. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson

Aaron Callan, who is recovering from Covid, can only walk with oxygen for just minutes at a time. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson

Aaron Callan, who is recovering from Covid, can only walk with oxygen for just minutes at a time. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson

A man (41) who was vaccinated against Covid-19 – but still ended up in ICU for six days fighting the virus – says he believes the vaccine saved his life.

Aaron Callan and his wife Michelle (44) are have both had the jab but in the first week of September he contracted the virus and an ambulance had to be called to bring him to hospital in the middle of the night.

After 28 days in hospital and with weeks of a recovery ahead of him at home, he can now walk only with oxygen and for just minutes at a time.

The couple, from Knockbridge, Co Louth, both tested positive for Covid.


Aaron with breathing gear

Aaron with breathing gear

Aaron with breathing gear

Michelle could not visit her husband until her isolation period was over and when she did, she was wearing full PPE.

Michelle, who had lost her mother two weeks previously, said: “I did not know if he was going to make it. It was an absolute nightmare.

“That night he went in (to ICU), my biggest fear was he was not going to come out of this.”

She believes, “without a shadow of a doubt”, that being vaccinated saved him.

“The doctor said to me on one occasion that if he had not been vaccinated, it could be a whole different scenario. So I do firmly believe the vaccination saved him.”

Mr Callan has diabetes and severe psoriasis. He was working from home when he began to have chills and joint pain and then was struck down with a cough.

The cough kept “getting worse and worse to the point that I felt really, really breathless and not being able to catch my breath”.

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Mr Callan felt so unwell that an ambulance was called for him at 2am and he was brought straight to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. He was on a Covid ward initially with doctors closely monitoring him.

The doctors began talking about transferring him to ICU and he said: “The thought of having to go there really hit home to me. I felt ‘is this it, am I dying?’”

“I was alone really and had nobody really to talk to because I had that mask on and I could not make a phone call to my wife or anything. The thoughts that went through my head were really scary.”

In ICU, he was put on a BiPAP machine to deliver oxygen.

“If I could not handle that, the only option after that would be for me to be intubated.

“I was really concentrating on being able to breathe on that (BiPAP) machine because I was afraid that if they put me to sleep, I would not wake up.”

He improved and after a number of days was released back to the ward having turned a corner.

He has “no doubt” being vaccinated saved his life.

“I was so auto-immune compromised, and stuff like that, that something saved my life and I am sure it was the vaccine.

“I am not trying to change anyone’s opinion or choice but if my story tilts you over the fence to take the vaccine, please do.”

He does not want to see anyone else’s family go through what his family did when he was in hospital and ICU.

He said he would be getting the booster jab when it was available because he never wanted to experience the threat of getting Covid again.

His wife echoed those sentiments and encouraged everyone to “get vaccinated”.

She had thought she was more likely to be sick with Covid than Aaron was because she is a smoker.

“It never dawned on me Aaron would end up in hospital the way he did because he does not smoke,” Michelle said.

She suffered aches and pains for one day and then a heavy head cold after contracting the virus.

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