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COVID-19: Woman who’s been isolating for months can’t wait to be among first to get vaccinated

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Julie Harris is a healthcare worker in South Wales – and she’s just she received a text message which has changed her life.

The Aneurin Bevan University Health Board invited her to make an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine and next week she will be one of the first people in the UK to get the precious jab.

Speaking to Sky News from her home in Torfaen, South Wales – where she has been isolating because of her underlying health conditions – Ms Harris said: “To be honest with you, it felt like the best Christmas present to wake up to on Christmas morning… it was a huge, huge relief.

“For me it was the beginning of the end of isolation and loneliness.”

Julie Harris says she would love to be able to hug her mother

Because of coronavirus, Ms Harris, 48, hasn’t been able to work looking after vulnerable children with disabilities and helping care for people in the community – a job she’s hugely passionate about.

“Where my job is concerned, it just means I can provide a service which they’re so desperate for, it means I can use my skills and help people who are vulnerable and absolutely need care,” she said.

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“When I go into work, it’s not like going into work for me, we provide a service which makes people’s lives so happy.”

Like so many, she hasn’t been able to see her family. She’s not seen her grandson, who was born just before the pandemic began, or had the opportunity to see her mother, who is also in the vulnerable category.

She said getting this vaccine will be an end to a “horrific year”.

“It will mean that we can be together with all our loved ones,” she said.

“My mother-in-law in a nursing home, my mother, who’s 68… It means I can hug her.

“I haven’t hugged her for like a year. To get a motherly hug right now would be amazing.

“I haven’t seen my son, who lives in Manchester, for near enough a year.

“To have a vaccine will be absolutely amazing.”

Julie says she will take the vaccine so she can visit her family
Julie says she will take the vaccine so she can visit her family
Julie, here with her grandchild, works with vulnerable children
Julie, here with her grandchild, works with vulnerable children

There are many like Ms Harris in South Wales who are also in a position to book their COVID-19 vaccine, but she fears that some of her healthcare colleagues are worried and will not take it.

“If the vaccine isn’t given, COVID is going to kill loads and loads more people,” she said.

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“I think it’s Russian roulette – we don’t know a lot about it, but if there’s a chance that this pandemic can end, then I’m happy to have the vaccine and take the risk and I think others should do that too.”

She added: “At the end of the day, life is too short. You have to grab every opportunity and if it means you having a vaccination in your arm to see your loved ones and to provide work you’re passionate about, then do it.”

Ms Harris wants to lead by example and put an end to this global struggle.

It’s clear from just speaking to her that this vaccine does really offer hope.

Many like her are now waiting in the wings to be vaccinated for what truly may be, the beginning to the end.

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