Health

Jo Whiley hails Covid vaccine for people with learning disabilities as sister leaves hospital


J

o Whiley today said she was “pinching herself” after her sister left hospital having survived Covid-19 as she hailed the news that people with learning disabilities would be invited for a vaccine.

The BBC Radio 2 DJ, 55, told last week how she had been offered the vaccine before her younger sister Frances, 53, who has the rare cri-du-chat genetic syndrome.

Frances was admitted to hospital with Covid-19 following an outbreak in her Northamptonshire care home. She has been left with “further complications” brought on by the virus, including “worrying diabetes and high blood pressure issues”, Whiley said.

Whiley had thanked NHS staff on Twitter yesterday and said her sister had now been offered the jab. “I’m pinching myself, really.”

“It’s hard to believe we’ve gone from discussing palliative care on Friday to sitting on her favourite bench drinking cups of tea.

“I hope the vaccine is reaching more and more of those with learning disabilities… we need to show them that they are not forgotten.”

Meanwhile, the Government said it is now inviting people with a learning disabilities to get the vaccine “as soon as possible”.

Care minister Helen Whately said: “We will be inviting everyone for vaccination who is on their GP’s learning disability register. This will mean those who are at a higher risk from the virus can get the protection they need.”

Whiley said she could not be more delighted at the news.

“I’m very grateful to the Government for listening, because it’s a very complicated situation and it’s very difficult to categorise people according to their disability, it’s very, very tricky and that’s become apparent I think over the past few months.

“And so this is clear, this encompasses everybody, and all those people who have been feeling very neglected, feeling like they don’t matter, that we don’t care, now know that we will be protecting them.

“This is absolutely crucial and I could not be more delighted. This is a massive step forward.”

ONS figures show that more than half of people who have died from Covid-19 had some sort of disability.



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