Lockdown diaries: 'There's finally an end', says shielder

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Chloe Ball-HopkinsImage source, Chloe Ball-Hopkins
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"I can't wait to go back to university and be around people again," Ms Ball-Hopkins said

Chloe Ball-Hopkins has muscular dystrophy and has been shielding during the pandemic. Doctors now believe she caught Covid-19 twice in 2020 and became critically ill.

After what she says feels like a long wait she has received the first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. This is her lockdown life in her own words.

"I had my vaccine last Thursday and I wasn't feeling too great afterwards, but it was worth it.

"There are so many people who have been anxious or dubious about going for their vaccine, but for me it was never something that was going through my mind.

Image source, Chloe Ball
Image caption,
Ms Ball said: "it was all worth it"

"For me, having been at home for so long and with my condition and knowing what Covid-19 could do if I get it again, it feels like there's finally an end to it."

Chloe was admitted to hospital in December and said her doctors now believe she had coronavirus about 12 months ago that resulted in her being critically ill. She said they also believe she caught it again in December and had a milder reaction the second time.

"At this point, you have no idea how excited I am to go and do my own food shop and pick my own fruit and veg from the shelf because I haven't done that in over a year now.

"It's those simple day-to-day things that are nice and feel safe to do now.

"When the football resumes I can go and watch my brother play, I can go and stand on that side line and not have to worry quite so much if someone is too close to me.

Image source, AFP
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Ms Ball-Hopkins will receive her next vaccine in 12 weeks' time

"I'm still not safe until I've had both vaccines, in my view, and that can still be a while but this is the first step and then comes the second step and by that point it's nice to know that there will be options where I can actually wake up and go 'what shall I do today?' and not just sit in the lounge.

"It's also perfect timing because my birthday is towards the end of May and I go back to university then as well and that's when I'm due to have my second jab."

Chloe is a foundation degree arts student at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College who lives with her grandparents in Wotton-under-Edge in an annexe and is in the extremely clinically vulnerable group.