Hope in the Age of Covid

I was called by my doctor’s surgery today to invite me to have a Covid-19 vaccine tomorrow.

Tomorrow!

I have asthma with a history of pneumonias and hospitalisations. The last year has been extremely stressful for so many reasons relating to Covid, but I must admit especially frightening knowing I have this vulnerability.

I really wasn’t expecting to be called so soon. I had asthma as a child but was undiagnosed for over a decade as an adult, and therefore used to having to fight to justify my illnesses (‘You’re only 25: twenty-five year-olds don’t get pneumonia’). I assumed that I would be removed from priority Group 6, like many other asthmatics. 

I wish I could change things for other asthma sufferers as they have recently been moved to the back of the vaccine priority queue. The suspicious part of me thinks that, as there are around 7 million asthmatics in the UK, that vaccinating all of us would slow down the rollout and possibly affect targets (I hate that this government has made me so cynical). Studies have so far shown that asthma does not increase the likelihood of death from Covid, but does increase the risk of having Long Covid, so it does make sense to give some priority to vaccinating this cohort. For me, I just feel a mixture of great relief, some trepidation and genuine excitement this evening.

We have watched this virus lurk from afar to then strike and dominate our country to the point where most of us have spent a year treading water, hoping for the best but fearing the worst. The government have been beyond abysmal in their handling and mismanagement of it. We have watched the waves go up and down; from a handful to thousands of infections per day; tens, to hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands to 120,000 deaths and counting. We know people who have been infected by Covid: some have had a short illness and recovered, some have been very poorly and are facing Long Covid, whilst some have lost their lives. 

It wasn’t long ago that scientists began to create vaccines for this virus. And now, those vaccines are here, being administered to people at lightening speed. The scientific community from all over the world have been tirelessly creating these vaccines to help end this nightmare. For the UK, as fragile as our NHS is, it is the NHS who is managing the vaccine rollout and saving our skins once again. If this is the NHS on it’s last legs, just imagine what a fully-funded health service could do. That has to be a goal worth striving for.

Banksy, Game Changer, 2020

All of this progress is with little thanks to the government. We are expecting an address by de Pfeffel on Monday to outline how we get out of this current lockdown. Current talk is that Professor Whitty and de Pfeffel are at odds regarding the staggered re-opening of schools. Please God don’t let Johnson get his way again. His priorities are wrong. He lacks planning and foresight. He lies. He can’t be trusted. Think of all we have suffered, lost, and may still lose if this unlocking isn’t handled with care and thoughtfulness.

We are not out of the woods yet. Despite all these uncertainties however, I feel hope in that whilst we will have lived through this and experienced the devastation of a pandemic, we are seeing the tide turn. One day, we will be able to say we survived it (despite our government), because we watched the very best in people come together for a common goal. All kinds of communities, from people collecting medications and running errands for neighbours, to virologists and epidemiologists working together. In a year that has had us feeling so much dread, to be sitting here feeling hopeful is rather peculiar (and a bit scary if I am honest), but so very welcome.

Stay safe.

~ L&A 19.2.21 ~

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