Carers call to be elevated in Covid-19 vaccine queue

Report by ITV News Meridian's Cary Johnston:

Millions of people have become full-time carers for a disabled family member, during the pandemic. Normally they would receive outside help, but that help has often not been able to come, due to the risk of Covid-19 infections.

It's left many unable to take a break from their caring duties, with one charity now calling for live-in carers to be elevated in the vaccine queue. The disabled charity Revitalise says normally people would receive help in the form of medical care visits, but this has all but disappeared due to the risk of infection.

Kevin O'Donnell is his wife Annette's husband and carer. They live in the village of Crondall, near Farnham.

She has multiple sclerosis, and has been vaccinated against Covid-19, but he has not yet received the jab. He says he fears for her welfare if the worst should happen to him.

Meanwhile Annette is shielding as best she can indoors.

Kevin O'Donnell

Their plight, and those of others, has been recognised by the charity Revitalise- a disabled holiday provider. The charity says it's a complex, but important issue.  

Andy Simons from the Revitalise charity explains the situation that live-in family carers have had to face for a year now during the pandemic.

Andy Simons- Revitalise

The charity says the extra burden is taking a physical and mental toll, and is calling for these kinds of carers to be prioritised for the vaccine. 

However, the government says it's doing it's best for disabled people and careers, and that the roll-out of the vaccine will soon have a significant effect. 

In the meantime, people like Annette and Kevin will have to do the best they can, until the vaccine comes Kevin's way. 

Annette is shielding and relies on her husband to care for her Credit: ITV News Meridian

He's not just a carer, he's my husband. I couldn't be without him.

Annette O'Donnell