IT is nearly five months since I had my first Covid vaccination.
That day I proudly wrote in The Sun how freedom was just around the corner for Britain’s elderly after nearly a year of shielding.
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As soon as I’d had my second jab I went to the computer and booked four things: A walking holiday in Norfolk for May, a week in Menorca in June, a concert in Holland for July and my rescheduled 80th birthday celebrations, which I’d cancelled the previous August.
Today, Norfolk might just be possible, Menorca — doubtful, Holland is highly unlikely and my birthday bash may have to be rearranged again because I want to invite more than 100 people.
Well over 14million people in the UK — that’s almost a quarter of the population — have had two jabs.
And that number is growing by an average of more than 400,000 a day.
Those of us who are lucky enough to have been given two doses are repeatedly told we are 97 per cent unlikely to catch Covid or spread it.
Even adviser Professor Jonathan Van-Tam says it is “incredibly safe” for two fully vaccinated people to meet indoors.
But the Government insists on relaxing regulations for everyone at once and does not want to create “privileged individuals” just because they have had two vaccinations.
And so, millions of people of my age, all with limited time left on this earth, are being restricted by strict rules that just seem so unfair.
When you are 80, every single day is precious but we are still forced to meet family outside in the garden and are forbidden to hug our children and grandchildren.
Inviting them into our house is so tempting but we face being hit with serious fines.
This week I lunched with a friend who has also been double-jabbed.
Sitting outdoors at the restaurant, even with the heaters on, I was shivering.
Why couldn’t we be allowed to sit inside in comfort on production of proof that we have had two jabs?
Now that half the population — 34million — have had one jab and are just waiting for their second, Covid cases have dropped dramatically.
An astonishing 22million now live in areas where there have been no Covid deaths recorded during April.
Plymouth last recorded one 58 days ago and Oxford and Maidstone, in Kent, have been fatality-free for two months. I recently received a note from my local council proudly informing me how Essex has gone from one of the highest Covid rates nationally to one of the lowest in the East of England.
Yet we are stuck with these irritating restrictions.
Meanwhile, Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, told Times Radio that it would only be safe to hug relatives and meet indoors when 80 to 90 per cent of adults have had two doses.
And Professor Van-Tam says it must be “frustrating at times” for people who have had two vaccinations to have to wait for the rules to be relaxed.
It is even more frustrating when I read how in the United States, President Joe Biden is giving people encouragement by saying that after you have had two doses you can meet with family indoors.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that two weeks after a second dose you can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying six feet apart.
And you can meet inside with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household without masks or social distancing.
Surely, if America can do it, why can’t we?
LET OLDER FOLK ENJOY TWILIGHT YEARS
By Thea Jacobs, 25
THIS pandemic has been isolating enough for me — someone who can pop outside to meet friends and family.
So I can’t imagine how it has been for older people who were not capable of meeting others in the fresh air.
I have not had my first jab. But why should I begrudge older people finally enjoying some normality after they have suffered so much in isolation for a year?
After all, their twilight years should be ones of happiness, not loneliness and confined to their homes.
Older people should be able to make the choice about socialising indoors while taking precautions with their fully-vaccinated friends and family.
I don’t see why they can’t go and have a cup of tea inside at a vaccinated friend’s house. We should trust people to be sensible to do what they feel comfortable with. After all, it will help boost their mental health.
Visiting a friend’s house for a brew can still be socially distanced and it’s much warmer than sitting outside in a pub beer garden. This pandemic has been a frightening experience for everyone, particularly the old.
But the longer we keep older people who have had both their jabs trapped inside, then the greater the anxiety will be when leaving lockdown.
I know it would help older people mentally to see each other, not to mention the physical benefits of being able to go somewhere else after months and months confined to their homes.
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