Mum Shares Horrifying Images Of Her Limbs Turning Black To Scare Anti-Vaxxers To Get Covid Vaccine
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Featured Image Credit: Kennedy
*This article contains graphic images that some people might find distressing*
Sophia Wyatt was just 16 when the disease took hold and changed her life forever while she was a student.
At the time, she was rushed to hospital with flu-like symptoms and a rash on her legs, before being placed into a life-saving induced coma for 10 days. She then had her legs and several of her fingers amputated, after developing sepsis.
Now, she's sharing her experience as a warning to those who aren't planning to accept the immunisation.
Sophia, from Guildford, Surrey, said: "Somebody flippantly asked 'are you going to be having the vaccine?' and I laughed, stopped and said 'you're talking to someone who lost their legs because of meningitis'.
"She said her children hadn't been vaccinated against meningitis because she'd heard something [bad] about it. I stopped myself from shouting at her because it's not her fault. She's just ignorant to it.
"When I went home, I found the photos. I was in tears all day because it brought it back to me, but I told my husband, 'I need to share this'."
The 44-year-old's photographs show her fingers and toes blackened with sepsis and her legs turning dark purple prior to their amputation.
Another shows her smiling after her legs were amputated during live-saving treatment, which saw her hospitalised for six months.
"It might upset people, but maybe they need to be upset. I defy anyone to look at that and justify why they would risk someone going through that," she continued.
"Why would you risk your parents getting Covid when you could get vaccinated against it? Why would you risk your child getting Covid?
"It's annoying to hear people saying they're not going to get it done when the whole country has been pushing, willing and paying for all these scientists to do this work.
"Having gone through what I've gone through and knowing vaccines stop that from happening to anybody, the whole debate at the moment is sickening."
A vaccine for meningococcal meningitis was made available in 2015, and Sophia says her life would be completely different had a it been rolled out before she got the infection.
With a giant vaccine rollout scheme in place across the UK at the moment, she has warned people to take the opportunity scientific advances have given them to keep their families safe.
"Like Covid is now, my strain of meningitis was a massive learning curve for the doctors and it was a matter of trying anything they could to keep me alive," said Sofia - who was one of the first people to survive meningitis.
"It's taken 26 years to get the funding for a meningitis vaccine, but we have managed to fund a Covid vaccine this quickly so we all need to have it!"
Sophia's post spoke of the struggles she faces every day having not had a meningitis vaccine, and her frustration at anti-vaxxers refusing such a vital lifeline.
"I've never shared these photos, mainly because I don't want to upset anyone but also because I don't like to be reminded of what I saw, what I smelt and what I was forced to deal with the day I awoke from a coma," she said.
"I've also never ever shared a photo of my legs after all the surgery I went through the surgery that saved my life.
"Even now 26 years on I can't look at myself in a mirror without my prosthetic legs on. I can't face the reality of what meningitis and sepsis did to my body.
"Thankfully now there is a vaccination that has almost completely eradicated this strain of meningitis (in those who choose to have the vaccine).
"I will never waste my time or energy debating the subject of vaccinations. I defy any parent to look at these photos, look at this 16-year-old girl and ask yourself if you could live with yourself knowing you could have prevented something like this happening to your own child?
"My parents didn't have the opportunity, but maybe that's why I survived? If I can share this and make just one parent see how important vaccinations are, then it makes my pain worthwhile.
"Today I was asked if I will be having the Covid vaccine... I think you know what my response is!"
Shortly after Sophia shared the post, it racked up tonnes of supportive comments, and many flocked to tell her they shared her sentiments.
NHS worker Yvette Sharvell commented: "Thank you so much for sharing this.
"As a former clinical virologist my biggest fear is that this pandemic will continue unhalted because people will not take the vaccine. Hopefully, as always, your courage will make a difference!"
Another Facebook user wrote: "My darling thank you for sharing these very private photos. I KNOW you will educate some with these.
"Such a strong cookie. And you were even smiling back then. You're a true inspiration."
Meanwhile, a third concurred: "You are such an amazing person! These photos are incredible. People need to see pictures like this so they wake up and realise that vaccinations are so very important."
Some social media users even said that Sophia had caused them to check their own opinions on vaccines.
"I've meant to get my two vaccinated for ages and I just haven't got round to it. That sounds really selfish in the context. Thank you for being so brave and sharing, Sophia," one wrote.
As another said: "Well you just changed my mind! Thanks for reminding me."
On the impact that sharing the pictures had, Sophia reflected: "So many people have told me they were very skeptical about any sort of vaccinations and seeing that has completely made their mind up, so hopefully people are listening."
Chief executive of Meningitis Now, Dr Tom Nutt, added: "We admire Sophia's bravery in sharing her story and these images and strongly support her message of promoting vaccine uptake, whether that's for meningitis, coronavirus or other diseases.
"Meningitis is a devastating disease but there are vaccines that will protect against it and a world-leading vaccination programme here in the UK. We'd encourage everyone who can to take the simple steps necessary to protect themselves and their family.
"We welcome the fact that we now have vaccines for coronavirus too - this too will save lives."