More than 25 million people have had their first dose of the Covid vaccine in the UK and 1.58 million are now fully vaccinated.
This means that most of the older generation and those at risk have started the transition process for returning back to normal life.
We’re coming up to a year since the UK began shutting down as covid took over our lives so we spoke to different people to see what they were most looking forward to as life becomes safer to live again by the day.
‘I really miss the simplicity of being able to pop out to see a friend, to pop to the shops for something we forgot from the shopping.’
Lydia Harrison works for the Goole and Selby Methodist Circuit as a Children and Family work enabler.
In her spare time, she is also a member of the steering group for the York Disability Human Rights forum.
“I miss church – due to shielding I haven’t been to worship in the building since March last year, although I have been able to lead and participate in worship online on Youtube and Zoom which has been great,” she said.
Lydia has been shielding, like 2.2 million other people in the UK, meaning that any rules the government puts forward are different for her in her circumstances.
People who have been shielding have been advised not to meet anyone outside their households and to get their shopping delivered to them, so for Lydia and other people alike, not being able to just pop to the shop has been a challenge.
“At the start of lockdown, I was really scared that we wouldn’t be able to get food, as the supermarkets didn’t have online slots available for a while. The boxes from the government were useful in a limited way, and I was really grateful for friends and family who went shopping for us.
“The hardest part of lockdown for me have been not being able to see my friends and family physically. I miss the physicality of meeting up for a chat – a phone call or Zoom is good but not as good as physically seeing someone.”
Lydia told YorkMix about how the virus has made her feel as if she’s lost parts of her identity but with more and more of the population being vaccinated by the day, Lydia, like many others, will be able to regain some sense of purpose in their lives.
“I realised how much of my identity was tied up with what I do – not being able to do the usual things I would do at work was hard, but we came up with some creative ways in which I could still reach out to the children and families that I usually work with.”
“I feel that the vaccine is a symbol of hope. Although the shielding guidance is to still shield after both vaccines and just because I’ve had it doesn’t mean everything is safe, it’s exciting and I’m always glad when I hear my friends and family are getting it.”
“I am most looking forward to being able to get back to work and feel useful and productive. Also, to be able to go to the beach with my dog and my husband. This is well overdue!”
‘I’m looking forward to going back to university’
Ben Wilkinson is a journalism student currently writing for a variety of media companies. Like other students and young people in general, Ben is missing his freedom and being able to go into university to get the hands on learning that he’s paid for.
“The thing I miss most about life before covid was being able to do what we want. I miss being able to go shopping, for food, seeing friends whenever and wherever. I also miss everyday life, like being at university and living in York. I’m currently having to live at home in Durham.”
Ben told YorkMix about his lack of motivation when it came to online learning for his university course.
“The hardest part about lockdown for me has been finding motivation to be productive, as before the announcement a couple weeks ago, there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel and every day just felt exactly the same. There were periods where it felt impossible to get myself in the mindset to work.”
Ben commented on the importance of the things that we don’t notice about everyday life that once they’re gone, we miss a lot. As more of the population are vaccinated and the UK becomes a safer place, this is something many people will be grateful for.
“I’m most excited about having some freedom back, little things we took for granted pre-covid like seeing our families and friends. I can’t wait to have nightlife back either. Basically, I’m just looking forward to being around people!”
‘I no longer want to live in fear every time I leave the house.’
Lucy Walters is a volunteer children’s worker for a local church. She is also a trained primary school teacher but is unable to work as a teacher due to health conditions.
“I’m very family oriented so one of the things I miss the most is spending time with my mum and my sister and her family including my two nieces. I also love to swim and it helps with my pain management and mobility so it’s been a huge blow to not be able to visit a swimming pool since last February.
“I miss being able to see the children I work with at my church including our after school club. They will have grown up and changed so much over the last year.”
Lucy spoke about the loneliness that many experienced when living alone during the pandemic.
“I live alone and I haven’t seen many people at all, apart from my carers who visit daily. I’ve realised I haven’t had a hug for about a year now. I was devastated to not be around for the birth of my youngest niece in the first lockdown and she was 9 weeks old before I finally got to hold her.”
“I’m looking forward to no longer living in fear every time I leave the house and to having freedom to do things again. From the little things like choosing my own shopping, to being able to drive to see my family and stay over whenever I want to.”
Lucy also told YorkMix about the psychological impact of covid and the idea of not panicking every time she comes into close contact with someone or something. This is a process that I’m sure many people will have to go through come the end of lockdown but as more people have the vaccine, it should begin to put people’s minds at rest.
“I think it will take me a long time to get over the psychological impact of Covid19. I’ll have to slowly get used to going to shops and being around people again without feeling panicky and I think I will be more cautious about everything I do, where I go and what I touch. I hope over time I will relax a little bit but it’s been an incredibly stressful and lonely experience and I will never take my freedom for granted again.”
“Just going to have my vaccine was an incredibly emotional and scary experience. It was the most people I had been around for nearly 12 months and it felt really daunting. Thankfully, the staff and volunteers at the vaccination site were amazing.”