Minister crippled by COVID-19 "very relieved" to get the vaccine

A minister who feared she would die after being struck down by COVID-19 has had her first jag.

Rev Julie Rennick, 61, said it was quick and painless and urged everyone offered the vaccine to get it.

Left - Rev Julie Rennick gets her first jag.

The minister and her husband, Alastair who also had the virus last year, got their jags at Forth Valley College in Falkirk which is being used as a NHS vaccination centre.

Mrs Rennick said: "I am very relieved to have got the vaccine because when I got the virus in April last year it completely floored me and was a terrifying experience.

"I had a really high temperature, pain in every one of my joints and it felt like there was a wet sponge in my nose that I had to breathe through.

"Every breath was just a horrible gasping and at one point I thought I would have to write a letter to my three adult sons because I did not know if I could ever speak to them again.

"That was terrifying, a real dark night of the soul moment."

Mrs Rennick, minister of Larbert West Parish Church in Forth Valley, said she later developed "long Covid" – a phrase used to describe long lasting effects of the virus – and had to scale back her work duties.

"Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, post viral fatigue, call it what you like, it is utterly debilitating," she added.

"For short amounts of time I was able to act like a ‘normal' person but the payback comes in a wave of overwhelming fatigue that will wash over me, threatening to drown me.

"At its worst, I struggled to climb the stairs to even get to my bed."

Rev Julie Rennick Larbert
Rev Julie Rennick

Mrs Rennick, who continued to record online services for her congregation, said the only bonus was it allowed time for quiet reflection.

"Time to talk with God, time to pause and simply be," she explained.

"I am aware of God's presence alongside me waiting for me to regroup, no pressure just love and presence.

"So COVID-19 can be horrendous for people and it is imperative that we stop the spread once and for all.

"The jag was painless and straightforward and I would encourage people to get one to protect themselves and everyone else from this horrible virus."

Mrs Rennick said her health has improved this year.

"My energy is back, my sleep pattern restored and I feel like myself again," she added.

"I still have days when my phantosmia and parosmia are high - things smelling strange or smelling things that are not there.

"Phantom smoke is the strongest and coffee tasting strange.

"But I am looking forward now to better days andthrowing open the church doors, in time, and welcoming people back so that we can join together and sing praises to God."

A total of 233,555 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Scotland to date and more than 7,300 people have died with the virus on their death certificate.

Scottish Government figures show that 1,661,879 people have received the first dose of the vaccination and 92,550 have received their second dose.

The Church of Scotland teamed up with other faith leaders to produce a short video encouraging people to "Stay safe, get vaccinated."

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