When Amy Pickles and her two children flew back to Dubai from the UK at the end of August, everyone was in perfect health.
The family had spent their summer holiday in rural Scotland, and Mrs Pickles for Covid-19 before boarding the flight from Glasgow back to the emirate.
The children went back to school for the autumn term, and the family settled back into life in Dubai. A few days later, Mrs Pickles, 43 took her son, Roddy, for a playdate.
“We didn’t know at the time, but the little girl had Covid-19, which we presume she caught in London, because her family had just got back from the UK. She only had a headache, but later tested positive, so we tested Roddy.”
Roddy, nine, had no symptoms, but his PCR test came back positive.
“At first I presumed it was a mistake because he was fine, and it was just annoying that we had to isolate and start home-schooling. But one day later he started to get ill, feeling grumpy with a temperature and he lost his taste and smell,” said Mrs Pickles, who is from the UK.
“Then two days later, I woke up feeling dreadful and it started getting worse and worse and worse.”
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The youngest in the house, Flossy, aged five, started to feel unwell around the same time, and then a day later the family’s nanny came down with a temperature, and then the nanny’s daughter.
Eventually they all tested positive for Covid-19.
“It ripped through the house like wildfire. It is so contagious. Some people suggested I should have isolated Roddy, but he’s only nine. I’m not going to shut him in his room,” said Mrs Pickles.
“Also I presumed that because the adults in the house were vaccinated, we would only get mild symptoms, if at all.”
Mrs Pickles has had four vaccine doses in total – two Sinopharm shots in January and two Pfizer doses in June. Her nanny had two Sinopharm injections in February and March.
Nevertheless, both were struck down by the virus, with high temperatures, bad headaches and loss of appetite.
If she had not been vaccinated, her symptoms could have been far worse.
“I felt exhausted for four days. If I could have stayed in bed I would, but I had the two children to look after. Our nanny stayed in bed for three days. No cough, but it felt like a proper bout of the flu,” said Mrs Pickles.
The children were worse off, with high temperatures, sore joints and a chicken pox-style rash all over their bodies.
Roddy lost his sense of smell, and Flossy had an eye infection, probably caused by the blistery spots forming on the inside of her eyelids.
“We did a Zoom call with the doctor, and he said a rash for children with Covid-19 is not uncommon. It was horrible. Flossy was tearful and hot, and covered with these horrible spots. She looked like a plague victim.”
It took the children a week to recover, and the whole family are now certified all-clear, but Mrs Pickles has been left in no doubt of how badly the coronavirus can affect even vaccinated adults.
“I don’t want to overstate how sick we were, but it was grislier for the children than I expected, and even after double doses of both vaccines, I was properly wiped out,” she said.