Concord Hospital's Dr Lucy Morgan describes vaccination as 'a suit of armour'
Respiratory specialist Dr Lucy Morgan is at the COVID-19 coalface.
"I've been looking after patients in their 20s, in their 30s and in their 40s. One of the things that has been really extraordinary in looking after these patients is some of their experiences and hearing the stories of their lives.
"And, some of the stories were really heartbreaking," Dr Morgan, a Senior Staff Specialist at Concord Hospital's Respiratory Medicine Department, said.
Construction worker Fawaz Dandan, 50, is one of those patients.
"Today, I am really bad. My fever, my headache, my breathing," he said, from his bed at the hospital.
His whole family has COVID-19.
"I was very careful with where I went and what I did. I don't know how I caught this virus. It's not a game, it's for real. So, please get vaccinated," he said.
Another patient, pharmacy worker Ramona El-Nachar, 30, laments the impact on her family.
"All I can think of is my children who I haven't seen in a very long time," she said, with tears welling in her eyes.
"It takes a toll on you physically and mentally, this virus. I've had two kids and a major operation but I've never had to push myself to recover mentally this much," she said.
She had one dose of vaccine, but got the virus before her second.
"I'm an essential worker. I could have contracted the virus from someone who didn't want to get the vaccination," she said.
And, Osama Ahmad, 35, a tradesman from Lakemba, has spent more than a week in hospital. His wife has been in intensive care and his children have been admitted to Westmead Hospital.
"It's separated us. It hasn't been easy," he said.
When asked to describe how he felt at his worst he said, "It was close to death. Pretty sick. It was a combination of things you don't want to experience."
Dr Morgan said the first symptoms of the virus include headache, a sore throat and cough with some people also having a fever and muscle aches.
"But some people become breathless and dizzy. And, these are the sorts of symptoms that need urgent medical assistance.
"If you have COVID-19, and you feel breathless, you have trouble breathing or you're feeling dizzy you need to call an ambulance.
"An ambulance is free. Your medical care will be free. And, there will be people who can care for you even if English is not your first language," Dr Morgan said.
No one Dr Morgan has been caring for in the past few days has been fully vaccinated.
"The big message from me is to get vaccinated. It's not too late to get vaccinated. Think about getting vaccinated today.
"Two doses of COVID-19 vaccination will be your suit of armour. It will protect you from getting sick from COVID-19, from needing admission to hospital and from ending up in ICU," Dr Morgan said.