Jo Morton Whiley, an English radio DJ and television presenter, has said she is living “a nightmare” after being offered a COVID vaccine before her sister, Frances, 53, who has diabetes and a learning disability.
Frances has tested positive for COVID after there was an outbreak in her care home. Whiley said she would give up her vaccine for her sister “in a heartbeat.”
People with diabetes and those with a profound learning disability have been in priority group six for the vaccine. People with a medically diagnosed learning disability are at greater risk of dying.
On Thursday, Whiley said she had been “dreading” when she found out there had been an outbreak in her sister’s care home.
The 55-year-old told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “I feel like I’m living through a nightmare. The whole weekend has been awful. It’s been really, really difficult. And then ironically I got a message to say that I was due to have my vaccine before my sister, who’s got learning disabilities and underlying health conditions.”
Whiley added that she had no idea why she was invited to get the vaccine but said it could be due to her being a carer for her sister, who also has a rare genetic syndrome, called Cri-du-chat syndrome.
“I would give up my vaccine in a heartbeat, the DJ said, “if I could, for my sister and any of the residents in her house to have their vaccine… it does not feel right.”
She went on to say that she wanted to speak up for people like her sister “who have been overlooked,” adding, “This happens so often – people with learning disabilities are neglected, they haven’t got a voice.”
Whiley also took to Twitter to say that her “worst fears” had been realized, with the prospect of a vaccine so close.
She wrote, “Feel like I’m in a terrible film with bad plot twists. Late last night I got a call to say that Frances, my sister, had tested positive & has COVID. Our worst fears realised after keeping her safe for a year & with a vaccine so close… she’s ok so far… Everything crossed.” The story was published Tuesday on BBC.