Please keep wearing your masks!

After July 19th, wearing masks will no longer be compulsory – it’s now official and the truth is that makes me feel very nervous.

I understand, many people feel that wearing masks removes their freedom to make their own decisions, however, there will be other vulnerable people, who like me need you to keep wearing them just a little longer. I know it’s a pain, I know some people will feel cross with me for saying it – however I need to be protected. I’m feeling even more vulnerable than ever now.

Yes, there are 33,602,136 people who are fully vaccinated, yet out of a population of 68,244,848, that isn’t even half of us. Sadly, I’ve not been vaccinated, though I have tried.

I would love to have had both of my jabs, but, due to my severe allergies, it has been incredibly difficult for me to get even the first one done. I’m in my early 30s so I should have been over the line for that by now.  

Why is it so hard for me to get a vaccination?

My allergies are to peanuts, tree nuts, chickpeas, lentils and sesame, as well as a host of medicines, including penicillin, Voltarol and all NASG drugs.

I wasn’t allowed to have vaccinations as a child, for fear I’d have an extreme reaction. However, as an adult, I’ve been able to have tetanus and Hepatitis A. Getting an vaccine is for me a big milestone. So much fear surrounds me and there will be allergy sufferers through the UK and the globe having the same experiences.

After being told by my GP that I could have the Covid-19 jab, I went along to the vaccination centre, only to be told they certainly wouldn’t give me it, but would contact my local hospital to arrange for me to have the jab there, in a controlled environment.  They could not risk me going into anaphylactic shock in a centre. Let’s face it, if I had had my jab and gone into such a shock, what impact would that have had on others queuing for the jab? Many of us are fearful enough already.

I’m still waiting to hear from the hospital and despite chasing for weeks, have heard nothing. This is why I haven’t even had my first jab. I want it, yet can’t have it and I’m in the hands of others.

Even the NHS website where it gives advice for people who have conditions that put them at high risk, or are clinically extremely vulnerable, suggests you book your vaccinations at larger centres. I think the possible problem is that hospitals are finding it hard to cope with Covid and all of the other pressures put on them. There is a huge waiting list and a ‘difficult’ case like me is simply not rising to the surface yet.

Therefore, until I have had my jabs, I do feel nervous. While I’m walking around entirely unprotected, more and more people will be removing their masks, causing me to feel vulnerable and quite frightened to be out in public. And I’m not alone.

We know that wearing masks has helped to stop the spread of Covid-19 and as we’ve already been doing it for a year, surely, it isn’t that hard to continue to wear them for a little longer?  If we continued for at least another six to eight months, it might give time for everyone to be fully covered in terms of vaccinations, and also for the virus to be less virulent.

For my whole life, my allergies have impacted on how I live day to day. I have to take care what I eat, where I eat, and also notice what people around me are eating.  It isn’t just because I’m fussy, but because by eating or being near something contaminated with one of my allergens, the result can be life threatening.

 Interestingly, I’ve found mask wearing has also helped me as an allergy sufferer.

One example being, that because it means people are less likely to eat on public transport I am no longer put into a dangerous situation.  My allergies are so severe if someone in the same train carriage as me ate peanuts, it would be a real problem and I could go into anaphylaxis shock.

It seems I’m not alone in wanting to continue to wear my mask. According to YouGov research, 71% of Brits say face masks should continue to be mandatory on public transport once restrictions are lifted, with 66% saying the same of shops.

21-25% believe they should be done away with altogether.

I hope people are on the cautious side, and do continue to wear masks in public places, and I ask them to give thought to the many vulnerable people out there who need to be cautious because of putting their lives at risk.

If it means that shops, restaurants and venues can be open, but we continue to wear face masks, then there is the opportunity for businesses to get back to work, and I believe we will fight this virus more successfully. 

Please wear your mask. You may be fine, but there are many of us who are at far more at risk.  We all need to stay safe.