'It's been terrifying' - mum with cancer fears shielding is ending too soon

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A mum from Devon who has been shielding with her teenage daughter for more than a year believes the Government is relaxing restrictions too soon.

Shielding advice is ending on Thursday 31 March as the Government says cases have decreased and the time is right to "ease up on the more rigid guidelines".

Nicky Hutchinson, aged 49, was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2019 and completed her final round of chemotherapy shortly before the UK first went into lockdown last spring.

Her daughter, 19-year-old Erin, was also undergoing treatment for a different form of cancer.

They shielded together, and happily both are now in remission - but they worry that relaxing things too soon could cause unnecessary anxiety for millions around the country.

Nicky has rarely left her home since March last year. Credit: ITV News

Nicky said: "It's been terrifying, it's been really hard mentally. You want to stay in, you want to do the right thing, but you just so desperately want to see people and do things.

"I feel that the shielding ending is too soon. We haven't had the second vaccine, we just seem so close and the Government have not given us the extra few weeks we need to get the full protection.

"They asked us to shield, they asked us to get the vaccine, we've done all of that. I just want the two doses and to start going back to life, we're ready for it now. We just feel we gave a year of our life, the least they could do is give us another month."

Nicky and her daughter are now in remission from cancer. Credit: ITV News

An estimated 3.7 million people are on the shielding list, and the Government says more than 800,000 have been prioritised to receive a vaccine.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "We recognise how difficult this period has been for so many, particularly individuals classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, and the impact it has had on many people’s wellbeing.

“With infection rates falling, our medical experts have said shielding advice can now be stopped from the beginning of April, although the clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to take extra precautions to protect themselves.”

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