Teesside woman says living with Covid is 'not an option' as all restrictions to lift in England

Jan says she has spent the past two years largely shielding in her home and garden in Saltburn. Credit: ITV News

Sitting in the garden of her home by the sea, Jan Hetherington tells me that for her, living with Covid is not an option.

Jan says she has spent the past two years largely shielding in her home and garden in Saltburn.

She has respiratory and autoimmune conditions that, she fears, put her at great risk from the virus.

Now, as people in England prepare for the lifting of the final Covid restrictions, Jan tells me she feels extremely vulnerable.

"I would like the Prime Minister to advise me how I can live with Covid when all protections have been removed.

"I've lived inside for two years, or in my garden, my family have protected me."

Jan says she feels devastated at the prospect of continuing to live a restricted life, in order to protect herself.

Jan believes that, for people like her, too much emphasis is being placed on the protection offered from Covid vaccines.

She says that after an adverse reaction to one Covid jab, she has not been fully vaccinated.

She also understands that despite her health vulnerabilities, she would not automatically have access to new antiviral treatments, were she to contract the virus.

"I actually likened it', Jan says, "to what my granddad used to tell me when he was in the war.

"Going over the top with an invisible enemy, with no ammunition to fight it. I know that sounds dramatic, but that's how I feel."

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In response, the Department of Health and Social Care told us that people who were classed as clinically extremely vulnerable during the height of the pandemic are now advised to follow the same guidance as others, but to consider taking extra precautions.

It added: "We are working with scientists to continue to provide the highest levels of protection for the UK population, including making Covid-19 treatments available to non-hospitalised patients at higher risk from the virus such as those who are immunosuppressed.”

The DHSC says identifying new treatments is particularly important for people who cannot receive a vaccine for medical reasons.

It is reviewing eligibility for these treatments and will be providing new information shortly.

Reassurance cannot come soon enough for Jan Hetherington. As the country looks forward, she is urging people to be considerate to those in vulnerable health and at continued high risk from Covid.