Omotola Thomas has Parkinson’s and has been shielding at home for almost a year. She explains why getting the COVID-19 vaccination was so important to her: “Shielding has been so very difficult. Not being able to go outside, enjoy human contact or see friends is hard; having two children oscillate between physical classroom learning one term, and virtual learning the next has been mentally and physically draining. I try to keep my focus on helping them both get the most out of their learning, and keeping them happy. Just like everyone else in this pandemic, we have our good and bad days.
“When the news came through that there was a vaccine for COVID-19, it felt like I could see some light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. So many lives could be saved. But I also felt apprehensive. This is a new vaccine, and there’s also the fear of the unknown. Rumours do get to you. Nonetheless, I did not hesitate when I got called for the vaccination. Personally, I feel like getting vaccinated is a responsibility we all owe each other.
“In recent weeks, it feels as though more and more people I know have been affected by this awful virus. I was so worried when my teenage son caught it, and then despite all the precautions I had taken, I developed the virus, along with my 67-year-old mother. Thankfully we all recovered without having to go to hospital for treatment, but it made me realise how life-changing having the vaccine could be. We are the lucky ones: I know several people who have sadly lost loved ones to COVID-19. Getting vaccinated is the only way we can protect ourselves and the people we care about.”