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Noam and Tamar

Brief Outline:

Background: Tamar and Noam are a married couple, aged 30 and 34 years, and are White British. They belong to the Orthodox Jewish community.
 
Tamar and Noam caught Covid in August 2021 after they had received their first Covid vaccine. While Noam recovered quickly from his mild symptoms, Tamar took longer to recover, and this was especially stressful as she was 38 weeks pregnant. They had to call the Hatzola (Jewish Ambulance service) three times to check her heart rate and oxygen levels and that her baby was okay. 

 

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Noam and Tamar first heard about Covid after Noam saw a small headline about a new virus in Wuhan in the HaModia (a Jewish newspaper). Like many they thought little about the virus until they celebrated the festival of Purim, and people began to discuss cases in the UK. They later caught Covid in 2021 and although they are not certain, they believe they may have caught it from their niece who had caught the virus from a classmate.
 
Both had received their first vaccine when they caught Covid and believe having been vaccinated contributed to their mild symptoms. Especially, as their 9-year-old son who was not eligible for the vaccine at the time became quite unwell and was bed-ridden with a fever for three days. Noam recovered quickly from the virus, only experiencing severe symptoms for 24-36 hours. Whereas Tamar who was 38 weeks pregnant at the time took longer to recover, experiencing loss of taste and smell. At the time of the interview, she had only just begun to regain these.
 
While having Covid the couple had to call the Hatzola (Jewish Ambulance service) for Tamar three times. Tamar’s pre-existing low heart rate and her having Covid so late in her pregnancy influenced the couple’s decision to seek medical care. The paramedics checked Tamar’s heart rate and oxygen levels, and confirmed their baby was alright. This was also confirmed by their hospital who were informed that Tamar had tested positive and brought her in for an appointment to assess her and the baby’s health. Had Tamar been positive when she went into labour alternative provisions for her care would have been arranged, Noam recalls this saying “she was prepared that if she was to go in for labour that she would have to be in a special ward and a special area.”
 
Tamar gave birth a week and a half after having Covid. While in hospital both Tamar and the baby were tested for Covid. Although the birth was fairly simple, Tamar felt extra weak, saying “I’m sure because of the, I don't know, I feel that it’s because of the Covid that I’ve been really weak.” The couple had planned for Tamar to go to a recuperation home after the birth of their child, however, Tamar was forced to isolate for 10 days after someone in the same room as her in the hospital tested positive.
 
During this time, Tamar and Noam received lots of support including help from their family who put money together to buy things for their children to keep them busy. Since having Covid they have a greater appreciation for their health and want to help others when they have Covid because they know how difficult it is to care for your children while ill.

 

 

Noam said that a small item in an international Jewish newspaper caught his eye.

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Noam said that a small item in an international Jewish newspaper caught his eye.

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I remember very clearly. There’s a newspaper that comes out once a week called HaModia, it’s a Jewish newspaper, international and it’s got a, they’ve got a national edition of it. And I just remember seeing on the front page, I don’t usually buy that newspaper at all. But, happened to be that week I bought it. I remember seeing on the front page just a very, very small caption, write up about you know, this city you know, what’s it called, Wuhan where they, you know, they have been reported to the WHO about you know small sort of virus which is going around over there, which you know, they’re warning about, which looks a bit worrying. But, it was a very, very small caption that nobody would bother reading it and for some reason that, that caught my eye and I was thinking, ‘that’s interesting’ something I don’t usually see. And, you know, just dismissed it sort of thing. But it, it caught, that was actually just the very beginning of the outbreak. So, yeah, I saw it right from the very beginning when it was reported and then, you know, just from then just every few weeks seeing it get bigger and bigger and then it just started off as being something which was going on in China. You know, you think that’s miles away and you know, it’s just, it’s just another one of these unfortunate things which goes on out in some far-off country out there and no chance of influencing us. But then you hear that no, ‘cos in Birmingham there has been exposition of selling things which came from China and that’s been cancelled. And so then you see, you know, it’s actually coming a bit closer to home the effect of it.

 

Noam realised when attending the festival of Purim that people were sitting separately.

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Noam realised when attending the festival of Purim that people were sitting separately.

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And I can remember it was Purim, the Festival of Purim and this is my connection to [City] over here. I was going to [City] for Purim to read the Megillah which is what we do on Purim. And you know, so, I was reading the megillah in the office over there by the Jewish centre and you know, people are sitting separate, which is not something I’d ever seen London yet. This was not heard of, but people said, you know, we’re not gonna sit in a room together and one of the people that was in that room listening to the reading of the Megillah was actually a medical doctor or professor of some sort that was on an advisory board about Covid and how to deal with it. And she was like saying, you know, about the seriousness of it.

 

Noam negative for a few days until his infection started to show on a lateral flow test.

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Noam negative for a few days until his infection started to show on a lateral flow test.

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Went to, took a test, came out negative, you know, the lateral test. But I knew that it was wrong because if Tamar has it and I’m right next her and I began to feel not well then it’s absolutely sure that I do have it and the tests are not coming out correctly. And I think it wasn’t actually until Monday that my test came out as being positive. Which was, quite somewhat of a relief to find out that it’s actually know what it is, you know. It’s not being said but it was only later on that I learned that it takes about three or four days of having it for the lateral test to come out with a positive sign.

 

Noam and Tamar found it difficult that nobody could come into their house to help with their kids while they were both ill.

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Noam and Tamar found it difficult that nobody could come into their house to help with their kids while they were both ill.

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Noam: So, it’s, it’s actually difficult well the thing about Covid is the, we need to isolate. So, there’s, you know, a very limited amount of help one can get in this you know, no-one’s gonna come in to help with the kids. Obviously, no-one is gonna come into the house and you can’t send them out anywhere either because you know, they have to also isolate being around us.

 

Noam wishes he had been warned about how significant the side effects could be.

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Noam wishes he had been warned about how significant the side effects could be.

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I could say that the second, the second dose of the Moderna vaccine had an influence on me exactly how I felt when I had Covid. So, when I had the second dose of the Moderna for 36 hours I felt completely not well. It was completely as if I was going through Covid. I think it’s, I think it’s something that they should make people more aware of because I wasn’t told that, when I had my vaccine that the likelihood is to happen. I understood that I might feel a bit weak you know, could have a small influence on you. Of course, you have to sit down for five or ten minutes to see that you’re okay afterwards. But, you know, I wasn’t told that I’d be feeling that not well for 36 hours and that people should probably cancel all commitments after the Moderna vaccine for 36 hours because that’s the effect.

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