An Auckland health care worker who had Covid-19, and had five family members hospitalised with the virus, is sharing their experience and a message for anyone who is uncertain about getting vaccinated.
Twelve of Paenga Lauaki’s family members, including herself, all contracted Covid-19. Some of them were hospitalised and are still recovering from the virus, including her pregnant sister, who is unvaccinated.
The family members weren’t sent to MIQ, but instead had to isolate at home due to the amount of people living on the same property with the virus.
Lauaki said it was “definitely a shock” when they found out they had tested positive, especially such a large number of the family.
It wasn’t an easy journey for the family either. Negative cases ended up having to look after positive cases, she said.
There was daily contact from health care staff, but some family members with underlying health conditions required “urgent care” including one person with cancer, and her pregnant and unvaccinated sister. It meant the ambulance had to be called.
“We didn’t have the right tools, we were obviously unwell ourselves so we had to seek urgent care and that was actually resulting in calling the ambulance.
Speaking on behalf of her sister, still too unwell to appear on Breakfast, Lauaki said she was “hit hard” by the virus.
“Her symptoms were worse off than most of us who were fully vaccinated. She did end up in hospital.
“She was struggling more to breathe, she was getting a chest infection that was worse off, and so the response to her needed to be urgent as opposed to all the others that were fully vaccinated.”
Lauaki shared a message on behalf of her sister: “If you have the opportunity to get vaccinated, please do especially if you are pregnant. Her immunity was low, just get protected for yourself, but also for your unborn child, that would be her message to people.”
She also had a message of her own for anyone having to isolate at home: “Don't panic, you can get through this.”
“As Pacific people we have our faith but we also have our collective strength.”