Casualty actor Jason Durr has volunteered to take part in a new coronavirus vaccine trial after he sadly lost his mum to COVID-19 last year.
The actor, who plays senior staff nurse David Hide in the BBC drama, and his wife Kate are both taking part in the trial in Bristol, which is for what is known as the Janssen Ensemble 2 vaccine.
Speaking to Bristol Live, the actor said that losing his mum, Frances, in April 2020 to COVID-19 was "awful" and reiterated his previous praise for the staff who looked after her in her care home during her final weeks.
"She'd lived there five years, and although she was suffering from dementia, she was a happy, healthy resident there," he said. "She went down with it, and she died three weeks later."
He added: "The carers were extraordinary. They were frightened too themselves, and doing their very best under such circumstances."
The actor revealed that his mum's death spurred him and his wife into taking part in the trial, saying that he wants to show that it is "worthwhile to do".
"At the same time I want to encourage people to go out and get the vaccines that are offered to them too. It's not (a) mutually exclusive thing, for me," he said. "I'm touched by it so therefore I want to do whatever I can in a small way to help."
Durr also spoke about how filming Casualty has changed since the pandemic began, with the drama shining a light on the impact that the virus is having on medical staff. The show's first episode back on air after its break in filming was a coronavirus-centric episode, which attracted praise from viewers for its unflinching portrayal of what real hospital staff are dealing with.
"We do 12 hour days and last week I spent all of it fully suited up in all the PPE, masks and so on," Durr said, adding: "It gives you an insight into how the real people have to work. If Casualty can shine a light on this, then that's good.
"That episode was a homage from us to them, and I would never say it's anything like the same for us filming as it is for those working in these conditions in the NHS. We're there to highlight what it's like, and hope it's possible to support the NHS and educate the British populace about conditions at the same time."
Casualty continues on Saturday (January 16) at 7.50pm on BBC One.
The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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