Today my brother gets his first shot of the Covid19 vaccination. Words cannot express how much weight has lifted from my shoulders. He is 57 and Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, if he caught the virus the outlook would be bleak.
Today the sun is shining and like the snowdrop buds pushing up through water-logged soil in my garden I feel optimistic that he will get his life back. Lockdown has been hard for Kenny, he doesn’t understand why everything he loves has stopped. It broke my heart not to be able to hug him when I dropped off his shopping every week. Although we have settled into a cautious support bubble the return to ordinary family life can’t come soon enough!
My brother has 24/7 support in his own flat – his small team of support workers have been brilliant, they have stuck to all the rules and gone beyond the call of duty to keep him safe, turning their own lives upside down as different members had to self-isolate.
Of course whether or not to get vaccinated is a personal choice some people I know will choose not to vaccinate and I respect their choices even if I don’t quite understand them. I’m old enough to have seen school friends and neighbours catch and die from common diseases like measle or to become disabled by polio. Vaccines have been life changing over the last century.
Initially I was worried that people who choose not to vaccinate would put my loved ones at risk, but the science is telling me that they are only putting themselves at risk. I’d rather they didn’t but I can live with that. I’ve been working with the Vaccination team in Dimensions and I’m pleased to tell you that we are ready to support your loved one to get the jab the moment they are called for it.
As the vaccination programme rolls out I’m now turning my mind to support people to reconnect with family, friends and old routines and activities. It’s going to feel strange!