I need some urgent clarification, well me and about 800,000 other people…
You revel in your’ vaccination success’. And are using this as some of the basis as to why you are opening schools fully from the 8th March 2021.
You have boldly claimed that all the clinically extremely vulnerable are now vaccinated or at least had their first vaccine dose. And it is true, that a large chunk of those who have already been vaccinated are of an age where their children are not likely at school age.
Yet on Thursday 18th February an extra 1.7 million people were added to the Shielded Patients List. I, unfortunately was added to the list due to multiple underlying health conditions that originally placed me in category, which at this current time that I write, was not eligible for the vaccination.
It’s a marvellous, groundbreaking, quick piece research that has produced the statistics to provide the basis to be able to do this. And for that I am grateful to now be a greater priority for vaccination and shielding support.
However out of that 1.7 million, there are 800,000 of those, like me, that have yet to be vaccinated, at the time I write this.
Presumably for a number of reasons that would have not made them eligible previously, such as age or vulnerability, perhaps they were not previously in any priority cohort at all. And if they are of a younger age, then they are more likely to have children of school age.
And so their children will be expected back into school. In just two weeks time, they will enter an environment with hundreds of other children containing the remnants of all of the social contact that hundreds of their parents have had, such as when they go to work or to the supermarket.
Will those 800,000 clinically extremely vulnerable new shielders be vaccinated in time? And even if they have their first dose by 8th March will it provide any protection by then?
And if so, doesn’t this go against the advice we have received which is that we should continue to shield until 31st March at the earliest?
How can it be that I am not allowed to go to a pharmacy, or supermarket yet I am allowed to drive my children and walk them up to the school gates and allow them to go into three separate schools, with three separate sets of school staff, three separate sets of school communities and mix with them? And then come home to me. Eat with me, hug me, share a house with me.
If I choose to follow your shielding advice to the letter (and not just the letter but in the very spirit the shielding advice was created: to protect myself and the NHS from covid 19) and I make a logical decision in keeping with that spirit to keep my children at home until I am allowed out of shielding, will I get fined?
It seems ludicrous that I could potentially get a fine for following government advice, but it also seems ludicrous that a phased return to school is not going to happen. After the scientific advisers have told you this needs to happen and after lessons learned from September 2020.
Please please allow us shielding parents with school aged children to have some flexibility about whether we let our children return. Let us decide whether or not to send them back without the worry of receiving a fine.
Our lives will depend on it.