In the words of Ant and Dec ‘Get me outta here’
It’s been 290 days since I left my home – you could mistake the beginning of this sentence for a meeting declaring my addiction to my home and to be completely honest you wouldn’t be far off the truth, my home has become my safety blanket as I’m sure it has for most people.
I’m definitely a human of habit around winter as it starts getting chillier I go into hibernation mode – My muscles don’t like the cold weather but then whose does, having Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive muscle weakening condition, my muscles work very definitely to most peoples – blood flows through our muscles helping to keep us warm but when those muscles can’t exercise like walking or moving around it becomes that much harder to warm up and keep warm.
Or another way to describe it is when a muscle becomes tight it can limit the blood flow into that area, the theory is when you put pressure on it you’re limiting the blood flow and then when you release that pressure more blood flows increasing the blood flow helping the muscles work.
It definitely scares me to think that in the 366 days of this year 290 of those days so far I’ve spent looking at the same four wall but what scared me more is when I truly work it out by the time the 1st January 2021 – which in the grand scheme of thing is only 16 days away, I will have actually only left my house a total of 5 times this year meaning that in actual fact it’s 361 days I’ve not left my home. Shit that’s scary! (Sorry mum for swearing!).
So yes I’m ab-so-flipping-lutely ready to leave my home, but as much as I’ve been shouting ‘IM READY, STAB ME IN THE ARM’ am I really? There are still many unknowns that make the picture more complex for disabled people, many of us face medical, practical or logistical barriers.
With the vaccine in full swing the NHS is rolling out the vaccine free at the point of delivery, top of the priority list is the care home residents and carers now with the news that some GP surgeries are now rolling it out. But are the current steps to create accessible information enough, and most critically will it come in good time?
Going to hospitals, sports grounds or pop up vaccines centres to access the vaccine isn’t a realistic option for many disabled people. For instance I don’t drive if I go somewhere far from home I rely heavily on a wheelchair accessible taxis or if I travel to the hospital that’s by the South Central ambulance service provided for by the NHS, but it’s not just travel, what about the accessibility within, this key issue needs to be addressed.
NHS stated that people should speak to their GPs if they know of any allergies they have. However, disabled people may struggle to see/speak to a GP or specialist health professional in time to discuss, or arrange the support or help they need.
This is urgently needed especially for those ‘who’ would need to be exempt it’s not that clearly laid out and without needed advice and guidance people like myself and thousands of others who are high up on the priority list may still avoid taking the vaccine, or not be able to give fully informed consent to do so.
Are disabled people, including those with complex medical conditions, ready for the vaccine?
The simplest answer is yes and no.
Yes, the vaccine is very much needed and welcomed by many in the disabled community as well as the non-disabled, plus it would mean the much needed end for so many that have been protecting themselves from the outside world having no real life human contact for nearly a year with family and friends.
No, in that there are concerns about effectiveness for specific conditions like muscular dystrophy and many more conditions and the accessibility of the program have still not yet fully been addressed.
Disabled people have definitely been the worst affected throughout this period, yet it’s not that surprising as I have always said we are the forgotten community, especially as almost two thirds of all deaths have been disabled people. Also those with learning disabilities and dementia have been severely impacted.
My hope that we now don’t go backwards and people learn and listen from this time as it’s proven even more that accessibility needs to be recognized and put at the heart of everything including the NHS.
How are you feeling about the vaccine are you worried, spoken to your GP or specialist or are you just dead against it?? Leave me a comment.
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