A couple who battled Covid-19 are urging Northlanders to get vaccinated, to avoid the same pain and suffering they have endured.
Kaikohe residents Belinda Peddie and her husband (who did not want to be named), say they are still experiencing side effects from the virus 18 months later.
Belinda Peddie and her husband, from Kaikohe, contracted the virus during New Zealand's first outbreak earlier last year.
Peddie and her husband,
contracted the virus during New Zealand's first outbreak earlier last year.
Their health scare started with her husband feeling "lousy" with symptoms at the end of March.
He was tested on April 1, 2020, and was told by the Northland District Health Board a couple of days later he was Covid-19 positive.
Peddie also became symptomatic and tested positive on April 28.
She remembers feeling "a bit panicked".
"We didn't know much about Covid then.
"I was wondering, am I going to end up on a respirator? Am I going to get really sick? It was worrying because the reviews coming in from the rest of the world were that people were dying."
Over the following weeks, and with only one box of Panadol between them, the couple battled "really high fevers" and exhaustion.
"We were bone tired," Peddie said.
"It was difficult to even get out of bed.
"We were eating toast; whatever was easy.
"Even having a shower was tiring, and getting dressed was a mission.
"That lasted for a long, long time. Even now we have days where we feel like the plug has been pulled and we have to rest."
Having seven horses, three dogs and three cats to look after on their lifestyle block made things even more challenging.
The couple, who have now had both doses of the vaccine, had to get regular negative tests before being allowed back to work six to seven weeks later.
It took "a good two to three months to get back to some sort of normality", they said.
Even so, 18 months later, they are still not back to how they were before they contracted the virus.
Peddie is taking a host of vitamins and supplements to strengthen her immune system, including zinc, vitamin c, magnesium and iron, along with antihistamines to stop bouts of coughing she has most mornings.
The couple still experiences joint pain, along with heart palpitations and muscle fatigue.
Peddie wanted to tell her experience for
, a Northern Advocate and NZME campaign to get at least 90 per cent of our eligible population fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by Christmas.
A very high vaccination rate is vital to make New Zealand safe from serious disease, keep our hospitals running and gradually allow the economy and border to open up to the world again.
"People need to get vaccinated so that if they do get it you don't have all these debilitating side effects that linger," Peddie said.
"They can bounce back to how life was before.
"If you're even slightly immune-compromised, or older, or have some kind of health issue the after-effects are likely to be worse."
Northland has had 28 cases of Covid-19 since the start of the outbreak in February 2020.
As of September 24, 161,614 vaccine doses have been administered to eligible Northlanders.
102,119 Northlanders have had their first dose and 59,495 have received both doses.
Peddie's husband, who has asthma and is susceptible to catching colds, said having Covid was like "a really, really bad flu".
The only way he could control his temperature was by taking paracetamol every four hours, "otherwise it would have gone over and I would have needed to be hospitalised".
"If you think about all the other vaccines we had as children, there's no difference at all," he said.
"I would not want to go through it again. Get vaccinated, it's very simple."