The near-death experience of a 25-year-old Jamaican man during his battle with COVID-19 has prompted him to urge all Jamaicans to take the available vaccines against the deadly respiratory disease.

“Two weeks ago I was fighting for my life. At 25 years-old, my life was on the verge of ending. I had COVID-19,” Craig Powe shared in a chilling post to his Instagram account.

“I am 25 and pretty healthy but COVID hit me bad, bad,” he revealed.

Powe said his brush with the coronavirus resulted in him developing pneumonia. He said his liver also started to fail. As a result, he was twice admitted to hospital – firstly at the National Chest Hospital then at the University Hospital of the West Indies, both in St Andrew.

He credits being alive today with the fact that his mother is a medical doctor and his father owns a medical supply company.

“Quick thinking on my parents’ part saved my life. Since my mom is a doctor she was able to prescribe antibiotics from first symptoms which actually kept the pneumonia small. Because my dad owns a medical supply company I was able to have an oxygen machine at home,” Powe also shared.

Yet, despite the intervention of his expert and knowledgeable parents, Powe described himself as “looking like a dead man” in one of the photos he shared of himself on his Instagram page while he was hooked up to the oxygen tank.

He disclosed that his oxygen level was 88 per cent without the machine but rose to 94 per cent which is more acceptable once he was connected to the machine. A normal oxygen level is said to be 95 per cent or higher in healthy persons. For some persons suffering some chronic illnesses they may have normal levels of around 90 per cent.

Now on the mend, Powe is back at work, but with what he has described as severely depreciated lung capacity. He is also volunteering as part of the ongoing vaccination drive.

Continuing his fairly lengthy post, the young man said “I have lost so many people to COVID and I would have been one of those people that would have, could have, should have died (and) people will (sic) be saying RIP, gone too soon”.

“I’m saying this, and sharing this deeply personal moment of battle and triumph to say ‘get vaccinated’,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Powe acknowledged that there have been some complications and a few reported cases of death resulting from a rare blood clot from some vaccines. But he also pointed out that more than 40,000 Jamaicans have been infected with the virus with over 670 dying from the disease.

“I would take my chance with the vaccine. Do the math. Be logical,” he argued.

More than 100,000 Jamaicans have been vaccinated against COVID-19 since the Ministry of Health and Wellness kicked off its vaccination drive on March 10, one year to the date that the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Jamaica in March, 2020.

The government is hoping to inoculate up to 1.8 million Jamaicans by next March in order to achieve herd immunity and so the economy can be fully reopened.

In the meantime, restrictions remain in force.

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