A woman who claims she was once a "complete anti-vaxxer" says contracting Covid-19 twice has changed her mind.

Saja Ali, 31, a married student from Didsbury, fell severely ill with coronavirus last February.

At the time, she had not had a vaccine against the virus because she was "wary" about things she had read, Manchester Evening News reports.

She was severely ill from the virus for four weeks and her dad also contracted Covid-19 and spent 11 days in hospital.

Now, Saja says she wants to speak out and raise awareness in order to encourage anyone who hasn't had a vaccine to get jabbed.

As soon as she recovered, she got both her vaccinations.

Just before Christmas, Saja once again tested positive for Covid-19 – but she said she believes the vaccine reduced the severity of her symptoms the second time around.

She told the Manchester Evening News: "A lot of people are still claiming the vaccine doesn't work.

"I think those who have caught Covid more than once should speak out to raise awareness.

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"The vaccine does work and does prevent worse symptoms.

"I was a complete anti-vaxxer until I got Covid-19 really, really badly back in February.

"I had it again and I honestly felt normal and fine. I am 100 per cent and I believe it's due to the double vaccine I got."

Speaking as cases surge nationally following the emergence of the Omicron variant, Saja added: "From my perspective, the vaccine has definitely worked.

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"I can only speak for my own perspective."

Saja told how she contracted coronavirus for the first time in February 2021.

"I had not been jabbed," she said. "I was proper against it back then.

"For me, it was all because it was new. It was a new vaccine and I was hearing a lot of conspiracy theories.

"At the time my husband was also really against it. I did not think twice about not having a jab.

"Then I got it really, really bad."

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Saja said she was bed-bound for three weeks and didn't leave home for a month.

"It was awful," she said. "It was really, really bad.

"Luckily I did not need hospital treatment because there was nothing wrong with my lungs and breathing.

"It totally changed my mind. A week later my dad caught Covid and needed hospital treatment.

"We were prepared for the worst with him. He was in hospital for 11 days and needed help.

"It made me think. I have three kids and it just made me realise. I believed what people were saying but I felt regret at not having the jab."

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Saja immediately got both jabs and is now waiting for a booster.

Like millions of others across the country, she tested positive just before Christmas and isolated.

But, the symptoms, she said, were nothing like they were when she initially caught the virus.

"I did not feel as ill this time. I believe that it was purely down to the vaccine.

"I felt a bit tired but nothing to stop me doing what I would normally do in a day. It was nothing like it was back in February.

"I don't want it to come across as being offensive, but I do not want people to take a chance.

"I believe the vaccine won't stop people from being poorly, but it will help prevent you from falling really ill and needing hospital treatment."

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